Building face composites can harm lineup identification performance Article

Wells, GL, Charman, SD, Olson, EA. (2005). Building face composites can harm lineup identification performance . JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED, 11(3), 147-156. 10.1037/1076-898X.11.3.147

cited authors

  • Wells, GL; Charman, SD; Olson, EA


  • Face composite programs permit eyewitnesses to build likenesses of target faces by selecting facial features and combining them into an intact face. Research has shown that these composites are generally poor likenesses of the target face. Two experiments tested the proposition that this composite-building process could harm the builder's memory for the face. In Experiment 1 (n = 150), the authors used 50 different faces and found that the building of a composite reduced the chances that the person could later identify the original face from a lineup when compared with no composite control conditions or with yoked composite-exposure control conditions. In Experiment 2 (n = 200), the authors found that this effect generalized to a simulated-crime video, but mistaken identifications from target-absent lineups were not inflated by composite building. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.

publication date

  • September 1, 2005

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 147

end page

  • 156


  • 11


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