An analysis of face matching accuracy and related variables: a meta-analysis and two follow-up studies
Rumschik, Danielle M.
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Face matching is used in many different transportation and policing situations and is an important last line of defense in security contexts such as the TSA. Despite how important this task is in ensuring security, no meta-analyses have been performed to find the average effect sizes of previously researched variables. To rectify this issue, I conducted a series of studies aimed at clarifying the field with regard to the factors important for influencing face-matching accuracy. Study one was a meta-analysis; studies two and three tested specific questions that arose from the meta-analysis. As expected, view, expertise, and feedback were found to be important; however, inconsistent with multiple reports, base rates of mismatch did not reach significance. A second study further examined base rates of mismatch to see if awareness of the base rate is necessary for the known low prevalence effect to occur. Results found that awareness mitigated the low prevalence effect instead of inducing it. A final study examined how expressions affect face matching accuracy. Participants were most accurate when evaluating photos showing neutral stimuli as opposed to expressive stimuli. The results of these studies provide information that can be used to increase face matching accuracy which is crucial as many security decisions rely on face matching and face matching is increasingly involved in legal decision making.