Research Output

Understanding the multiframe caricature advantage for recognizing facial composites.

  Eyewitnesses often construct a ‘composite’ face of a person they saw commit a crime, a picture that police use to identify suspects. We described a technique (Frowd et al., 2007, Visual Cognition, 15, 1-31) based on facial caricature to facilitate recognition of these images: correct naming substantially improves when composites are seen with progressive positive caricature, where distinctive information is enhanced, and then with progressive negative caricature, the opposite. Over the course of four experiments, the underpinnings of this mechanism are explored. Positive-caricature levels were found to be largely responsible for improving naming of composites, with some benefit from negative-caricature levels. Also, different frame-presentation orders (forward, reverse, random, repeated) facilitated equivalent naming benefit relative to static composites. Overall, the data indicate that composites are usually constructed as negative caricatures.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2012

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Taylor & Francis

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    BF Psychology

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    150 Psychology


Frowd, C. D., Skelton, F. C., Atherton, C., Pitchford, M., Bruce, V., Atkins, R., …Hancock, P. J. B. (2012). Understanding the multiframe caricature advantage for recognizing facial composites. Visual Cognition. 20, 1215-1241. doi:10.1080/13506285.2012.743936. ISSN 1350-6285



Caricature; Face space; Facial composite; Memory; Witness;

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