Kramer, R. S. S., & Reynolds, M. G. (2018). Unfamiliar face matching with frontal and profile views. Perception, 47(4), 414-431.

Research has systematically examined how laboratory participants and real-world practitioners decide whether two face photographs show the same person or not using frontal images. In contrast, research has not examined face matching using profile images. In Experiment 1, we ask whether matching unfamiliar faces is easier with frontal compared with profile views. Participants completed the original, frontal version of the Glasgow Face Matching Test, and also an adapted version where all face pairs were presented in profile. There was no difference in performance across the two tasks, suggesting that both views were similarly useful for face matching. Experiments 2 and 3 examined whether matching unfamiliar faces is improved when both frontal and profile views are provided. We compared face matching accuracy when both a frontal and a profile image of each face were presented, with accuracy using each view alone. Surprisingly, we found no benefit when both views were presented together in either experiment. Overall, these results suggest that either frontal or profile views provide substantially overlapping information regarding identity or participants are unable to utilise both sources of information when making decisions. Each of these conclusions has important implications for face matching research and real-world identification development.

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