Learning from the Expert: Can Observing the Oculomtor Behaviour of Expert Face Processors Improve Training of Face Matching?

Project Details


Face matching is crucial to tasks such as checking passports at border control, searching CCTV footage for suspects of a crime and trying to identify people who have been missing either a short time or for many years. Face matching of unfamiliar people is surprisingly inaccurate, so it is important to identify methods to improve it. We will test a cross-section of the public to identify people particularly skilled at face matching. We will then observe how they compare faces, recording the eye movements they make, and ask them about the strategies they use.

Training will be developed which includes both explicit strategies to be used and implicit training through “oculomotor demonstration”, which involves showing the trainee a dynamic mapping of an expert’s gaze mapped onto the faces being inspected. Previous research in other perceptual tasks has suggested that oculomotor demonstration can improve the rate of learning. The effectiveness of this simple technique may be because people innately attend to other people's gaze to understand what in the environment those other people consider important. We will test whether such training is more effective than previously developed training and whether the effects last for up to one month.
Effective start/end date1/08/1231/07/13


  • Economic and Social Research Council, UK: £49,256.00


  • Psychology


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