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Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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2.2 Famous E-FIT task

Can you recognise the E-FITs that have been created of famous celebrities? (The images are from a study by Brace, Pike, Allen and Kemp, 2006.) Guess then click to reveal the answers.

Figure 13

E-FIT was one of the first computerised composite systems that presented a whole face to the witness rather than collections of separate features. The study by Brace, Pike, Allen and Kemp (2006) evaluated E-FIT using these images of famous faces. This study concluded that although E-FIT did represent an improvement in psychological terms over older systems such as Photofit, there were still aspects of the construction process that were psychologically problematic, including:

  • that the witness had to recall what the face looked like; our minds seem much better at recognising faces than they do recalling them (picturing them in the mind)
  • the witness had to alter the composite image by selecting individual features
  • the process was very reliant on the witness verbally communicating their memories to a police operator.

These problems were to prove very important in designing the next generation of composite systems. Nonetheless, Brace, Pike, Allen and Kemp (2006) did find that 66% of the 96 E-FITs produced in the study were recognised by at least one person.