The Effects of Memory and Vision Factors on Identity Judgments in a Lineup Setting

101 views 5 pages ~ 1323 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Vision and memory both play important roles in causing differences in the appearance of a person's face. A number of online experiments and laboratory tests have shown that simply displaying images from people's eyes has the ability to enhance a variety of cooperative acts such as generosity, contributions to the public good, conformity to societal norms and moral transcriptions, and the conservation of individuals deemed endangered. A change in an individual's perspective, on the other hand, is known to create significant alterations in the appearances of people's faces (Rhodes, 2013). For example, the frontal face has a symmetrical mouth and two eyes.However, these features may only be visible in a profile view. This variation may however present some levels of difficulty for identification of individuals when we are made to encounter the faces of people we know. This study investigates the role of eye gaze direction on eyewitness identification. In this case, eye gaze direction will be considered as a factor that influences the memory and vision of the eyewitness.

A number of studies have revealed that an individual’s direction of gaze is one of the most significant salient cues possessed by primates. Amann., Jenkins and Burton (2016) explain that it plays a significant role in conveying the direction of a person’s social interactions while driving him towards recognizing faces considered to be familiar. Various experiments have been undertaken to demonstrate the fact that memory paradigms have a lot of influences on recognition of faces. These studies have used a set of unfamiliar faces for memorization at the initial phase of learning. Recognition of faces is then evaluated after subsequent test phases in which the memorized faces together with new identities are intermixed. Early studies in this area revealed that 90% of faces would be recognized by observers presented in studies and tests at the same time (Davies and Valentine, 2013). However, there was a dramatic decline in accuracy levels to about 60% when memory recognition was put to test across changes in view. Further studies in this area have replicated similar results over time making it appear to be sensitive to the extents of rotation in the views being compared. Therefore, it is true to conclude that recognition memory undergoes a linear declination as the angle between the test view and studies tend to increase.

Recent researches have proven that familiar and unfamiliar faces among people are encoded differently, resulting in a striking variation in the subsequent ease of recognition. As a matter of fact, evenly graded facial images of people we are familiar with caught on surveillance cameras are easily recognized (Burton, Krammer, Ritchie and Jenkins, 2016). However, unfamiliar faces recorded in these cameras may not be easily recognized. For this reason, these photographs are matched with appropriate faces in other photographs. Such considerations have put the memory of faces that have not been sufficiently observed and unfamiliar faces are well detailed to construct the composite in a successful way. However, Jones, Dwyer and Lewis (2017) explain that the origin this belief tends to root its basis on the fact that statements that are frequently iterated in facing recognition reveal high levels of superiority for face recalls. One’s ability to recognize faces particularly after a long period of time acts as a testimony of the robust and unique characteristics of the encoding systems for individual faces.


Percentage Correct when Target is present and not present

Physical presence of the target played a significant role in this study. Data obtained from this research revealed that the accuracy of face identification was lower in the instances where the target was present but higher with the absence of the target. However, the overall levels of accuracy revealed to be higher than chance levels (20%; 4 faces and not present).

From the results obtained, the deviation in difference between the target present and target absent revealed a probable accuracy level p.05) when the target was either present or absent.

Average Number of Misidentifications on the Target Facing Direct, Left, Right and Up

Accuracy in the identification of target was greatly dependent of the direction faced by the observer with respect to that of the target. The average number of misidentifications when the target was facing right revealed to be lower in comparison to other instances when the target faced up, left, and direct. Surprisingly, it emerged that the average number of misidentifications was highest (28) in instances when the target was directly faced. The probability of misidentifying the target was far less (p< .05) if the target faced left right or upwards.

Average Reaction Time on Target Facing Direct, Left, Right and Up

Change in view of the eyewitness in relation to the position of the target played a great role in this study. In this case, a measure of the reaction time of the eyewitness was considered to correlate with the extent to which the target is encoded by the witness. In this experiment, it took a shorter time for the witnesses to react if they faced the target directly. Right view required the highest amount of time for the witness to react.


Availability of the target and the position of this target play important roles in face identification. The best explanation of the importance of the position of the target (left, direct, up or right) is the fact that a single view of the target’s face may give limited information about the same target’s identity from different points of view (Dowsett, Sanford and Burton, 2016). Such issues lead to perpetual limits in data obtained leading to a decline in the accuracy levels of identification. In comparison to an averted gaze (left, right, up), direct gaze is known to cause a greater influence on human beings.

Direct exposure to the target acts as a more powerful activator of attention due to hi0gh levels of psychological arousal and activation of the neural organs. Neural activation is known to increase the activity human beings’ social evaluations and face perceptions. This is because; there is a tendency of human beings to be highly alert when they are made to be the targets of of other people’s gaze. In this study, presence of target for gaze led to lower levels of accuracy (43%) in comparison to situations where the target was not presented for observation (56%). This could be explained by the fact that the effects of direct observation would be psychologically influenced by social interactions, making the gazer to conceive a state of mind intentions towards the target (Towler et al., 2017). However the reaction time and therefore the mean reaction time decrease if the target is present or gazed at directly. This would be attributed to the fact that presence of the target or direct view of this target illicit the mind processes of the witness.


Armann, R. G., Jenkins, R., & Burton, A. M. (2016). A familiarity disadvantage for remembering specific images of faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42(4), 571.

Baddeley, A. (2014). Applied cognitive and cognitive applied psychology: The case of face recognition. Perspectives on Memory Research (PLE: Memory): Essays in Honor of Uppsala University's 500th Anniversary, 367.

Burton, A. M., Kramer, R. S., Ritchie, K. L., & Jenkins, R. (2016). Identity from variation: Representations of faces derived from multiple instances. Cognitive Science, 40(1), 202-223.

Davies, G. M., & Valentine, T. (2013). Facial composites: Forensic utility and psychological research. Handbook of eyewitness psychology, 2, 59-83.

Dowsett, A. J., Sandford, A., & Burton, A. M. (2016). Face learning with multiple images leads to fast acquisition of familiarity for specific individuals. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(1), 1-10.

Jones, S. P., Dwyer, D. M., & Lewis, M. B. (2017). The utility of multiple synthesized views in the recognition of unfamiliar faces. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(5), 906-918.

Towler, A., White, D., Kemp, R. I., Towler, A., White, D., & Kemp, R. I. (2017). Evaluating the feature comparison strategy for forensic face identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Rhodes, G. (2013). Looking at faces: First-order and second-order features as determinants of facial appearance. Perception, 42(11), 1179-1199.

April 26, 2023

Health Science

Subject area:

Vision Memory Experiment

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Experiment
Verified writer

Clive2020 is an excellent writer who is an expert in Nursing and Healthcare. He has helped me earn the best grades with a theorists paper and the shadowing journal. Great job that always stands out!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro