Faye Skelton

Faye Skelton

Dr Faye Skelton SFHEA

Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology

Biography

After completing my PhD in face recognition at Lancaster University, I worked for over ten years at the University of Central Lancashire before moving to Edinburgh Napier University in December 2014. I am interested in face perception and recognition, and memory. Primarily this is applied to the forensic field, for example looking at reliability of eyewitness evidence (including identification of perpetrators). I investigate ways of improving police facial composites ('E-FITs') in terms of how to recover information from memory, best practice for system use, and ways of improving recognition of the final image (e.g. by caricature). I am also interested in miscarriages of justice, and am currently exploring experiences of miscarriages of justice (wrongful imprisonment) with Dr Mandy Winterton on a British Academy/Leverhulme funded project.

I teach cognitive psychology and social cognition at undergraduate level, including perception, consciousness, face and object recognition, and understanding self and others. I am also Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology.

I enjoy taking my research out to the public and have delivered shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, and Northern Ireland Science Festival.

Research Groups

Events

Esteem

Conference Activity

  • Panel Member at The International Conference on The Image. I was invited expert panel member at this international inter-disciplinary conference held at Liverpool John Moores University in September 2016.
  • The impact of auditory face descriptions on recognition of own- and other-race faces. Paper presented at the European Association of Psychology and Law annual conference, Toulouse
  • Co-organiser of Super-Recognisers Conference. I co-organised this two-day interdisciplinary event with Dr Hayley Ness (The Open University). The event was hosted partly at our Craiglockhart campus and involved academics, police officers and legal experts.
  • The impact of morphing on own- and other-race facial composites. Paper presented at the European Association of Psychology and Law annual conference, Nuremberg
  • Symposium organiser and Chair at BPS Cognitive Section Annual Conference. I was invited to organise a symposium on facial identification at this conference, held at Nottingham Trent University.
  • In the face of distraction: the impact of changing-state speech on person identification. Paper presented at Theoretical and Applied Aspects of Distraction conference, UCLan, April 2014
  • The impact of changing state speech on person identification. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, Nottingham Trent University
  • The importance of context for facial composite images. Paper presented at 'Identifying the Suspect: Improving Facial Composites' workshop, held at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds.
  • The impact of morphing on own- and other-race facial composites. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, University of Reading
  • Lost in Space: Optimising search space in EvoFIT. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, University of Glasgow
  • Session Chair at International Conference for Emerging Security Technologies. I was invited to organise and chair a session at this conference held at the University of Central Lancashire.
  • Witness interviews: Does recall of relational information improve identifiability of a facial composites? Paper presented at International Conference for Emerging Security Technologies, University of Central Lancashire
  • EvoFIT: Police software for constructing facial composites. Poster presented at the Police Learning: A Changing World conference, University of Central Lancashire
  • Improving the quality of police facial composite images. Presented this poster, which was shortlisted from over 600 applications and was presented at the SET for Britain, House of Commons, 9th March
  • The Role of Context in the Construction of Police Facial Composites. Poster presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, University of Hertfordshire
  • An internal feature advantage in face recognition? Poster presentation at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, University of Southampton
  • Does facial attractiveness moderate the own-sex bias in face recognition? Poster presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section Annual conference, University of Aberdeen
  • The role of internal and external information in children's unfamiliar face recognition. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section Annual conference, University of Leeds
  • Learning new faces: Does movement aid unfamiliar face recognition in children? Poster presented at BPS Cognitive Section annual conference, University of Reading

 

External Examining/Validations

  • External examining at the University of the West of England: I am the module external examiner for several undergraduate psychology modules in the School of Health and Social Sciences at UWE, Bristol.
  • External examining at the University of Lincoln: I was appointed as external examiner for up to 15 modules across undergraduate psychology programmes in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln.

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

 

Grant Reviewer

  • Reviewer for British Academy/Leverhulme scheme

 

Invited Speaker

  • "Facial composites: The influence of external features". I was invited to Sheffield Hallam University to present this research to the psychology group.
  • "The role of motion in children's face learning". I was invited to present this research to the psychology department at Lancaster University.

 

Media Activity

  • BBC Radio Ulster interview: I was interviewed for live broadcast about my Northern Ireland Science Festival show 'Pants on Fire!' for the Lynette Fay show on 18th February 2020.
  • BBC Radio Ulster interview: I was interviewed on BBC Evening Extra (BBC Radio Ulster) about false confessions in advance of my Suspect Confessions show at the Northern Ireland Science Festival (22nd February 2019).
  • Interview for Express Online: I was interviewed about false confessions by journalist Fay Watson for the Express Online.
  • BBC Witch Hunt: I was interviewed about false confessions by Susan Morrison for BBC radio in July, and my content was incorporated into two episodes of the six-part "Witch Hunt" podcast about the Scottish witch panics, broadcast in October and November 2019.
  • Suspects confess to crimes they didn't commit - here's why: I was invited to write this article about false confessions for The Conversation. The article was published on the day of my 2018 Suspect Confessions show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
  • Dr Faye Skelton: Why suspects confess to crimes they didn't commit. The Scotsman re-published my article for The Conversation on 31/8/2018.
  • Guilty Secret: Police Professional published a piece (author Tony Thompson) based on my article for The Conversation. Published 22/8/2018
  • Image of Charlene Downes: With Dr Charlie Frowd (then at University of Winchester) we worked with Lancashire Police to release an aged (by ten years) image of Charlene Downes, a missing teenager from Blackpool.
  • Image of Christian Grey: I constructed a facial composite image of fictional character Christian Grey (from 50 Shades of Grey by EL James), from descriptions generated by listeners of a radio station. The image was quickly picked up by the media, reported on BBC News and reported on hundreds of news and popular culture websites across the world. At one point it was the top story on the BBC news website. I took part in a number of interviews for printed media and TV for outlets in the UK, Ireland, and the United States.

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Pants on Fire! at the Northern Ireland Science Festival: I was invited to deliver this fee-paying show at NISF on 18th February 2020
  • Suffer the Witch: was invited as expert panel member (on false confessions) to contribute to a half day conference on the Scottish witchcraft panics. The event was held at Riddles Court on 23rd January 2020 and was attended by the general public as well as scholars researching the area.
  • Suspect Confessions at NISF: I was invited to deliver my Suspect Confessions show at the Northern Ireland Science Festival on 22nd February 2019.
  • Dine and Debate: I was invited to present on false confessions and discuss with the audience at this event as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival on April 14th 2019.
  • Pants on Fire! Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I wrote this show and delivered it twice , on 3rd and 12th August 2019
  • Mythbusting at Midlothian Science Festival: This event involved informal discussions about my research and psychology more generally with members of the public. It took place at Dalkeith Library on 10th October 2019.
  • Proof or Lies: I was invited as an expert panel member for this show at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Alongside experts in DNA and fingerprint evidence, I discussed with the audience and other experts the strengths and weaknesses of eyewitness testimony.
  • When innocent becomes guilty: Psychology of false confessions: I delivered this public lecture on false confessions and miscarriages of justice twice, for the Edinburgh and Glasgow Skeptics Societies.
  • Fitness to Witness: A Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, covering eyewitness testimony and miscarriages of justice.
  • Lies, Damn Lies, and MRIs: I wrote and delivered this public lecture on the pitfalls of lie detection techniques twice, to the Edinburgh and Glasgow Skeptics Socieeties.

 

Research Degree External Examining

  • PhD external examining: I examined Joanna Lorek's PhD on juror memory and decision-making at the University of Liverpool (Supervisors Dr Luna Centifanti, Dr Minna Lyons, and Dr Craig Thorley)
  • Examination of MRes at University of Greenwich: I examined Linda Ali's MSc by research on the topic of 'Super-recognisers' at the University of Greenwich (supervisor Dr Josh Davis), including viva voce.

 

Reviewing

  • Peer review for Europe's Journal of Psychology
  • Peer review for Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
  • Peer review for the Journal of Cognitive Psychology
  • Peer review for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
  • Peer review for Child Development
  • Peer review for Journal of Visualised Experiments
  • Peer review for Frontiers in Psychology journal range

 

Date


20 results

Constructing identifiable composite faces: The importance of cognitive alignment of interview and construction procedure.

Journal Article
Skelton, F. C., Frowd, C. D., Hancock, P. J. B., Jones, H. S., Jones, B. C., Fodarella, C., …Logan, K. (in press)
Constructing identifiable composite faces: The importance of cognitive alignment of interview and construction procedure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000257
We investigated the impact of congruency between the witness interview and method used to construct a composite face. Experiment 1, using a typical feature-by-feature composi...

The impact of external facial features on the construction of facial composites

Journal Article
Brown, C., Portch, E., Skelton, F. C., Fodarella, C., Kuivaniemi-Smith, H., Herold, K., …Frowd, C. D. (2019)
The impact of external facial features on the construction of facial composites. Ergonomics, 62(4), 575-592. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2018.1556816
Witnesses may construct a composite face of a perpetrator using a computerised interface. Police practitioners guide witnesses through this unusual process, the goal being to ...

Not conferencing but hardy and rewarding public engagement: Unplugged at the Fringe with the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

Journal Article
Skelton, F. (2018)
Not conferencing but hardy and rewarding public engagement: Unplugged at the Fringe with the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. Cognitive Psychology Bulletin,
No abstract available. Item is conference review.

Chatting in the face of the eyewitness: the impact of extraneous cell-phone conversation on memory for a perpetrator

Journal Article
Marsh, J. E., Patel, K., Labonté, K., Battersby, K. L., Frowd, C. D., Ball, L. J., …Vachon, F. (2017)
Chatting in the face of the eyewitness: the impact of extraneous cell-phone conversation on memory for a perpetrator. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(3), 183-190. https://doi.org/10.1037/cep0000101
Cell-phone conversation is ubiquitous within public spaces. The current study investigates whether ignored cell-phone conversation impairs eyewitness memory for a perpetrator....

The benefit of context for facial composite construction.

Journal Article
Skelton, F. C., Frowd, C. D., & Speers, K. E. (2015)
The benefit of context for facial composite construction. Journal of forensic practice, 17, 281-290. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-08-2014-0022
Purpose - The aim of this study was to investigate whether the presence of a whole-face context during facial composite production facilitates construction of facial composite...

A decade of evolving composites: regression- and meta-analysis

Journal Article
Frowd, C. D., Lampinen, J. M., Erickson, W. B., Skelton, F. C., McIntyre, A. H., & Hancock, P. J. B. (2015)
A decade of evolving composites: regression- and meta-analysis. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17, 319-334. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-08-2014-0025
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of seven variables that emerge from forensic research on facial-composite construction and naming using contempora...

The impact of irrelevant auditory facial descriptions on memory for target faces: implications for eyewitness memory.

Journal Article
Marsh, J. E., Demaine, J., Bell, R., Skelton, F. C., Frowd, C. D., Roer, J. P., & Buchner, A. (2015)
The impact of irrelevant auditory facial descriptions on memory for target faces: implications for eyewitness memory. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17, 271-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-08-2014-0029
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the potential susceptibility of eyewitness memory to the presence of extraneous background speech that comprises a descr...

Registered replication report: Schooler and Engstler-Schooler (1990)

Journal Article
Alogna, V. K., Attaya, M. K., Aucoin, P., Bahník, Š., Birch, S., Birt, A. R., …Zwaan, R. A. (2014)
Registered replication report: Schooler and Engstler-Schooler (1990). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 556-578. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691614545653
Trying to remember something now typically improves your ability to remember it later. However, after watching a video of a simulated bank robbery, participants who verbally d...

Configural and featural information in facial-composite images

Journal Article
Frowd, C. D., Jones, S., Fodarella, C., Skelton, F. C., Fields, S., Williams, A., …Hancock, P. J. (2014)
Configural and featural information in facial-composite images. Science & Justice, 54(3), 215-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2013.11.001
Eyewitnesses are often invited to construct a facial composite, an image created of the person they saw commit a crime that is used by law enforcement to locate criminal suspe...

Whole-face procedures for recovering facial images from memory.

Journal Article
Frowd, C. D., Skelton, F. C., Hepton, G., Holden, L., Minahil, S., Pitchford, M., …Hancock, P. J. B. (2013)
Whole-face procedures for recovering facial images from memory. Science & Justice, 53, 89-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2012.12.004
Research has indicated that traditional methods for accessing facial memories usually yield unidentifiable images. Recent research, however, has made important improvements i...

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • In the face of distraction: Exploring the role of background speech on person identification. I was co-investigator with Dr John Marsh and Dr Charie Frowd (UCLan) on this British Academy/Leverhulme funded project (£5000) on theoretical and applied aspect of distraction (SG122309).

Current Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • PhD Supervision: I co-supervise Alex Riley, PhD candidate at University of Central Lancashire, on the topic of police facial composites (cognitive/forensic psychology).
  • PhD supervision. I co-supervise Montana Mullen, PhD candidate at the University of Central Lancashire, on the topic of body mass index and cognitive functioning (health/cognitive psychology).