Police urged to drop photofits for caricatures
Police forces should issue comical caricatures of the criminals they are hunting instead of standard photofits, according to a team of scientists who found that cartoon-like faces are better at jolting people's memories.
A study at the University of Central Lancashire found that over-emphasising prominent features on people's faces made them twice as easy to identify than before.
The researchers used computer software to alter the faces of 18 celebrities which had been created using three standard photofit techniques. The faces were then turned into caricatures by exaggerating certain features, such as the size of a person's ears, forehead or nose, by as much as 50%.
In tests, volunteers were asked to identify people from the standard photofit of their face and from their caricature.
On average, a photofit face was correctly identified 20% of the time, compared with 40% for the caricature, according to a report in this month's Visual Cognition journal.