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The Effect of Face Masks on Forensic Face Matching: An Individual Differences Study.

Estudillo, A. J., Hills, P. and Wong, H. K., 2021. The Effect of Face Masks on Forensic Face Matching: An Individual Differences Study. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 10 (4), 554-563.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2021.07.002


In the forensic face matching task, observers are presented with two unfamiliar faces and must determine whether they depict the same identity. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some governmental authorities require the use of face masks in public spaces. However, recent research has shown that face masks impair face identification. The present study explores the effect of face masks on forensic face matching using an individual differences approach. Compared to a full-view condition, performance decreased when a face mask was superimposed on one face (Experiment 1) and both faces (Experiment 2) of a pair. Although a positive correlation between the full-view and the mask conditions was found, high proficiency in the full-view condition did not always generalize to the mask condition. Additionally, the mask generally has a more negative impact on those participants with better performance in the full-view condition. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Forensic face matching; Covid-19; Face mask; Individual differences
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36005
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:15 Sep 2021 16:19
Last Modified:06 Sep 2022 01:08


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