The performance of practitioners conducting facial comparisons on images of children across age

Autoři: Dana Michalski aff001;  Rebecca Heyer aff001;  Carolyn Semmler aff002
Působiště autorů: Defence Science and Technology Group, Edinburgh, South Australia, Australia aff001;  School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225298


Determining the identity of children is critical to aid in the fight against child exploitation, as well as for passport control and visa issuance purposes. Facial image comparison is one method that may be used to determine identity. Due to the substantial amount of facial growth that occurs in childhood, it is critical to understand facial image comparison performance across both chronological age (the age of the child), and age variation (the age difference between images). In this study we examined the performance of 120 facial comparison practitioners from a government agency on a dataset of 23,760 image pairs selected from the agency’s own database of controlled, operational images. Each chronological age in childhood (0–17 years) and age variations ranging from 0–10 years were examined. Practitioner performance was found to vary considerably across childhood, and depended on whether the pairs were mated (same child) or non-mated (different child). Overall, practitioners were more accurate and confident with image pairs containing older children, and also more accurate and confident with smaller age variations. Chronological age impacted on accuracy with mated pairs, but age variation did not. In contrast, both age and age variation impacted on accuracy with non-mated pairs. These differences in performance show that changes in the face throughout childhood have a significant impact on practitioner performance. We propose that improvements in accuracy may be achievable with a better understanding of which facial features are most appropriate to compare across childhood, and adjusting training and development programs accordingly.

Klíčová slova:

Algorithms – Face – Face recognition – Children – Imaging techniques – Infants – Nose – Sense of agency


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11