Research

Laboratory research and police field trials have demonstrated that EvoFIT outperforms current computerised composite systems.  Research papers supporting development of this system are available to download below.


Why EvoFIT was developed

The construction of a composite by assembling individual facial features is a common exercise in criminal investigations. Photofit, identikit, efit and other ‘feature’ types are old fashioned systems and results are poor when used to identify suspects. This is why the team developed EvoFIT as a tool to beat crime.

Current practices build composites with a single face and operating on only one face means that a witness must continuously describe changes necessary to make a face better. This “recall” process is a naturally hard task for anyone to do. Recognising a face, on the other hand, is fairly easy and accurate. EvoFIT therefore attempts to tap into witness’s recognition rather than recall.


How does EvoFIT work?

The traditional composite systems used by police forces require witnesses and victims to describe an offender’s face and then to select individual facial features; tough, when under pressure.

EvoFIT uses a different approach. Faces in EvoFIT are modelled in their entirety and are not separated into component parts. A facial composite is created by first displaying a number of faces containing random features such as eyes, noses and mouths. A witness selects a few of these faces that are most similar to a criminal. The selected faces are then mixed or ‘bred’ together to produce another set for selection. Repeating this process a number of times allows a composite to be ‘evolved’.

EvoFIT begins by creating a set of faces with random facial shapes and facial textures. A witness would normally select six of these shapes and textures that most resemble a suspect. These selections then become the “parents” of the next population; to produce another generation, the components of the selected faces are mixed together. The “offspring” faces are selected and bred together as before. The selections enable the set of faces to become more like the suspect. Evolution is completed when an acceptable likeness is found.

EvoFIT is unique in helping a witness to focus on the central part of the face, the region that is important for recognition by another person later (a police officer or member of the public). The system also contains holistic tools to improve the match — 20 scales that change the perceived age, pleasantness, masculinity and other such properties of the face.

Once the best likeness has been achieved, the image is saved to disk as the composite.


… from a mugshot album or an identity parade.

A natural alternative is to present groups of faces and allow a witness to select a few based on their similarity to a suspect. Selecting in this way is rather like picking a criminal from a mugshot album. The task can be carried out without having to describe a face. What is required then is a method of combining these similar looking faces to provide an identifiable likeness. In spite of considerable obstacles, the system designers are delighted to have been able to achieve this aim. The research underpinning EvoFIT has been compiled by Dr Frowd and is available at www.uclan.ac.uk/cfrowd.


How was EvoFIT developed?

EvoFIT was developed by Professor Peter Hancock at the University of Stirling (Department of Psychology), Professor Vicki Bruce at Newcastle University (School of Psychology), and Dr Charlie Frowd at the University of Central Lancashire (School of Psychology) and (more recently) University of Winchester (Department of Psychology) with funding from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Funding was also received from the Higher Education funding Council for England (HEFCE) through the Higher Education  Innovation Fund (HEIF) which supported the Knowledge Exchange programme, Crime Solutions.


Research papers

The project team have carried out extensive laboratory research and police field trials for the development of EvoFIT, along with research into facial composites in general.  Some of this research is listed below; pre-print versions of papers are available to download where possible (otherwise please email Charlie@EvoFIT.org.uk).

Books, book chapters and Reviews

Frowd, C.D. (2014). Facial composite systems. In T. Valentine and J. Davis (Eds.) Forensic Facial Identification. Wiley-Blackwell.  (Word.)

Frowd, C.D., Skelton, F., Atherton, C., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2012a). Evolving an identifiable face of a criminal. The Psychologist, 25, 116 – 119.
>> PDF.

Frowd, C.D. (2012). Facial Recall and Computer Composites. In C. Wilkinson and C. Rynn (Eds). Facial Identification. Cambridge University Press.  Word.

Frowd, C.D. (2011). Eyewitnesses and the use and application of cognitive theory. In G. Davey (Ed.) Introduction to Applied Psychology. BPS Wiley-Blackwell.  Word.

Frowd, C.D. (2010). Varieties of biometric facial techniques for detecting offenders. International Conference and Exhibition on Biometric Technology. 6 – 7th September 2010, Coimbatore, India.
>> Word.

Frowd, C.D., Park., J., McIntyre, A., Bruce, V., Pitchford, M., Fields, S., Kenirons, M. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2009a). Evolving facial composite systems. Forensic Update, 97, 25-32.
>> Word. This is the author’s copy. The final published version may be obtained at http://dfp.bps.org.uk/dfp/psychologists/forensic%20update%20back%20issues.cfm

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2008a). Changing the face of criminal identification. The Psychologist, 21, 670-672.
>> PDF.

 

Refereed (main) publications

Fodarella, C., Kuivaniemi-Smith, H., & Frowd, C.D. (Under revision).  Forensic procedures for composite face construction.  Journal of Forensic Practice.  Special issue on forensic face construction.  Annexes.

Frowd, C.D., Skelton F., Hepton, G., Holden, L., Minahil, S., Pitchford, M., McIntyre, A., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2013). Whole-face procedures for recovering facial images from memory.  Science & Justice, 53 89-97.
>> Word (author accepted version).  The final version of the paper is available at http://www.journals.elsevier.com/science-and-justice

Frowd, C.D., Skelton F., Atherton, C., Pitchford, M., Hepton, G., Holden, L. et al. (2012b). Recovering faces from memory: the distracting influence of external facial features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 18, 224-238.
>>  Word.  This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal.  It is not the copy of record. That is to be published at http://www.apa.org/

Frowd, C.D., Skelton F.C., Butt, N., Hassan, A., & Fields, S. (2012c). Familiarity effects in the construction of facial composite images using software systems. Ergonomics, 54, 1147-1158.
>> Word. Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis. This is the author’s version of the work.  It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis (http://www.tandfonline.com/) for personal use, not for redistribution.  The definitive version is published in Ergonomics.

Frowd, C.D., Nelson, L., Skelton F.C., Noyce, R., Heard, P., Henry, J. et al. (2012d). Interviewing techniques for Darwinian facial composite systems. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26, 576-584.
>> Word.  This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article, which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1002/acp.2829.

Frowd, C.D., Atherton, C., Skelton, F.C., Pitchford, M., Bruce, V., Atkins, R. et al. (2012e). Understanding the animated caricature advantage for facial composite images.  Visual Cognition, 20, 1215-1241.
>> Word.  This is an Author’s Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Visual Cognition, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/.

Frowd, C.D., & Fields, S. (2011). Verbalisation effects in facial composite production. Psychology, Crime & Law, 17, 731-744.
>> Word (non-final version.  Final version available at http://www.tandf.co.uk/).

Frowd, C.D., Hancock, P.J.B., Bruce, V., Skelton, F.C., Atherton, C., Nelson, L., et al. (2011a). Catching more offenders with EvoFIT facial composites: lab research and police field trials. Global Journal of Human Social Science, 11, 46-58.
>> PDF.

Frowd, C.D., Ramsay, S., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2011b). The influence of holistic interviewing on hair perception for the production of facial composites. International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology, 3, 55-6.

Hancock, P.J.B., Burke, K., & Frowd, C.D. (2011). Testing facial composite construction under witness stress. International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology, 3, 65-71.  Word.

Frowd, C.D., Pitchford, M., Bruce, V., Jackson, S., Hepton, G., Greenall, M., McIntyre, A., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2010a). The psychology of face construction: giving evolution a helping hand. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 195–203.
>> Word. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article, which has been published in final form at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/90511484/issue.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Pitchford, M., Gannon, C., Robinson, M., Tredoux, C., Park., J., McIntyre, A., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2010b). Evolving the memory of a criminal’s face: methods to search a face space more effectively. Soft computing, 14, 81-90.

Frowd, C.D., Lee, C., Petkovic, A., Nawaz, K., & Bashir, Y. (2009b). Further Automating and Refining the Construction and Recognition of Facial Composite Images. International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology, 1, 59-74.
>> Word.

Frowd, C.D., & Hepton, G. (2009). The benefit of hair for the construction of facial composite images. British Journal of Forensic Practice, 11, 15-25.
>> PDF. (This article is published here, http://metapress.com/content/121407).

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Smith, A., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2008b). Improving the quality of facial composites using a holistic cognitive interview. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14, 276-287.
>> Word.  This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal.  It is not the copy of record. APA copyright. http://www.apa.org/.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Chang, Y., Plenderleith, Y., McIntyre, A.H., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2008c). Predict Your Child: a system to suggest the facial appearance of children. Journal of Multimedia, 3, 28-35.
>> Word (author posting. Final version: (C) Academy Publisher).

Frowd, C.D., McQuiston-Surrett, D., Anandaciva, S., Ireland, C.E., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2007a). An evaluation of US systems for facial composite production. Ergonomics, 50, 1987–1998.
>> Word.  Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version is published in Ergonomics. doi: 10.1080/00140130601154855.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Ross, D., McIntyre, A. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2007b). An application of caricature: how to improve the recognition of facial composites. Visual Cognition, 15, 954-984.
>> Word. Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2007. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version is published in Visual Cognition, Volume 15 Issue 8, November 2007. DOI: 10.1080/13506280601058951 (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content?content=10.1080/13506280601058951)

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., McIntyre, A. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2007c). The relative importance of external and internal features of facial composites. British Journal of Psychology, 98, 61-77.
>> Word.  (This is a postprint version of the paper. Reproduced with permission from British Journal of Psychology © The British Psychological Society [2007]).

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Ness, H., Thomson-Bogner, C., Paterson, J., McIntyre, A. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2007d). Parallel approaches to composite production. Ergonomics, 50, 562-585.
>> Word.  Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2007. This is the author’s version of the work.  It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ergonomics, Volume 50 Issue 4, April 2007. doi:10.1080/00140130601154855.

Frowd, C.D. & Hancock, P.J.B (2007). Evolving human faces. P. Machado & J. Romero (Eds). Art and Artificial Evolution (pp. 189-210). Berlin: Springer.
>> Word.  The original publication is available at http://www.springerlink.com/.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., McIntyre, A., Ross, D., Fields, S., Plenderleith, Y., & Hancock, P.J.B (2006a). Implementing Holistic Dimensions for a Facial Composite System. Journal of Multimedia, 1, 42-51.
>> PDF. (http://www.academypublisher.com/jmm/vol01/no03/jmm01034251.html)

Frowd, C.D., Carson, D., Ness, H., Richardson, J., Morrison, L., McLanaghan, S. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2005a). A forensically valid comparison of facial composite systems. Psychology, Crime & Law, 11, 33-52.
>> Word (non-final version. Final version available at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/1068316x.asp

Frowd, C.D., Carson, D., Ness, H., McQuiston, D., Richardson, J., Baldwin, H., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2005b). Contemporary Composite Techniques: the impact of a forensically-relevant target delay. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 10, 63-81.
>> Word.  Available online at http://www.bpsjournals.co.uk/journals/lcp/

Frowd, C.D., Hancock, P.J.B., & Carson, D. (2004a). EvoFIT: A holistic, evolutionary facial imaging technique for creating composites. ACM Transactions on Applied Psychology (TAP), 1, 1-21.
>> Word © ACM, (1984).  This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use.  Not for redistribution.  The definitive version was published in TAP, {VOL1, ISSUE1} http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1008722.1008725

 

Peer-reviewed publications in student journals

Davies, S. (2009). The effects of stress levels on the construction of facial composites. Diffusion. Available at http://atp.uclan.ac.uk/buddypress/diffusion/?p=1763

McKay, D. (2010). Improving the identification of composite images using sketch-like faces. Diffusion. Available at http://atp.uclan.ac.uk/buddypress/diffusion/?p=1728

 

Peer-reviewed publications in IEEE proceedings

Frowd, C.D., Pitchford, M., Skelton, F., Petkovic, A., Prosser, C., & Coates, B. (2012f). Catching Even More Offenders with EvoFIT Facial Composites. In A. Stoica, D. Zarzhitsky, G. Howells, C. Frowd, K. McDonald-Maier, A. Erdogan, and T. Arslan (Eds.) IEEE Proceedings of 2012 Third International Conference on Emerging Security Technologies (pp. 20 – 26).
>> PDF (Accepted version of paper. Copyright IEEE.)

Frowd, C.D., Hancock, P.J.B., Bruce, V., McIntyre, A., Pitchford, M., Atkins, R., et al. (2010c). Giving crime the ‘evo’: catching criminals using EvoFIT facial composites. In G. Howells, K. Sirlantzis, A. Stoica, T. Huntsberger and A.T. Arslan (Eds.) 2010 IEEE International Conference on Emerging Security Technologies (pp. 36-43).
>> PDF.

McIntyre, A., Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2010). Looking at people who are wearing glasses: the impact of glasses on matching photographs of unfamiliar faces and recognizing familiar composite faces. In G. Howells, K. Sirlantzis, A. Stoica, T. Huntsberger and A.T. Arslan (Eds.) 2010 IEEE International Conference on Emerging Security Technologies (pp. 36-43).

Frowd, C.D., Petkovic, A., Nawaz, K., & Bashir, Y. (2009c). Automating the processes involved in facial composite production. In A. Stoica, T. Arslan, D. Howard, T. Higuchi, and A. El-Rayis (Eds.) 2009 ECSIS Symposium on Bio-inspired, Learning, and Intelligent Systems for Security (pp. 35-42). NJ: CPS.
>> Word.

Frowd, C.D., Park, J., McIntyre, A., Bruce, V., Pitchford, M., Fields, S., Kenirons, M. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2008d). Effecting an improvement to the fitness function. How to evolve a more identifiable face. In A. Stoica, T. Arslan, D. Howard, T. Higuchi, and A. El-Rayis (Eds.) 2008 ECSIS Symposium on Bio-inspired, Learning, and Intelligent Systems for Security (pp. 3-10). NJ: CPS.
>> PDF. This is the author’s copy.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Gannon, C., Robinson, M., Tredoux, C., Park, J., McIntyre, A., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2007f). Evolving the face of a criminal: how to search a face space more effectively. 2007 ECSIS Symposium on Bio-inspired, Learning, and Intelligent Systems for Security (pp. 3-10). NJ: CPS.
>> PDF.

 

Publications in peer reviewed proceedings of academic conferences

Frowd, C.D., Matuszewski, B.J., Shark, L., & Quan, W. (2009d). Towards a comprehensive 3D dynamic facial expression database. Proceedings of the 9th WSEAS International Conference on Multimedia, Internet & Video Technologies (MIV ’09) (pp. 113 – 119). WSEAS: Budapest.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., McIntyre, A., Ross., D. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2006b). Adding Holistic Dimensions to a Facial Composite System. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition (pp. 183-188). Los Alamitos: Ca.
>> Word.

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Plenderleith, Y., & Hancock, P.J.B. (2006c). Improving target identification using pairs of composite faces constructed by the same person. IEE Conference on Crime and Security (pp. 386-395). IET: London.
>> Word (also contains research on greyscale vs. colour composites).

Frowd, C.D., Bruce, V., Storås, K., Spick, P. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2006d). An evaluation of morphed composites constructed in a criminal investigation. Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law (pp. 59-66). London: IP-PA Publishing.
>> Word.

Schmidt, H. & Frowd, C.D. (2006). An investigation into the cross-race effect for composite construction. Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law (pp. 67-76). London: IP-PA Publishing.

Hancock, P.J.B., Frowd, C.D., Brodie, E., & Niven, C.A. (2005c). Recognition of Pain Expressions. In A. Cangelosi, G. Bugmann & R. Borisyuk (Eds) Modelling Language and Action (pp. 339-348) Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Frowd, C.D., McQuiston-Surrett, D., Kirkland, I. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2004b). The process of facial composite production. In A. Czerederecka, T. Jaskiewicz-Obydzinska, R. Roesch & J. Wojcikiewicz (Eds.). Forensic Psychology and Law (pp. 140-152). Krakow: Institute of Forensic Research Publishers.
>> Word.