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ERIC Number: EJ811090
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-1076-898X
Improving the Quality of Facial Composites Using a Holistic Cognitive Interview
Frowd, Charlie D.; Bruce, Vicki; Smith, Ashley J.; Hancock, Peter J. B.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, v14 n3 p276-287 Sep 2008
Witnesses to and victims of serious crime are normally asked to describe the appearance of a criminal suspect, using a Cognitive Interview (CI), and to construct a facial composite, a visual representation of the face. Research suggests that focusing on the global aspects of a face, as opposed to its facial features, facilitates recognition and improves composite quality; also, that the CI enables more effective use of a composite system. The current study evaluated a novel "holistic" Cognitive Interview (H-CI). This comprised a descriptive phase, using a CI, followed by a recognition-enhancing phase, involving the attribution of seven holistic properties. Participant-witnesses watched a video of a target, then 3 to 4 hours later received either a CI or an H-CI and constructed a single composite with a standard system, PRO-fit. Composites constructed after the H-CI were correctly named more than four times as often as those after the CI, attributable to an improvement in the quality of both the internal and external parts of the face. In police work, the H-CI offers the possibility of substantially improving the identification of criminal suspects. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A