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The Doppelgänger effect? A comparative study of forensic facial depiction methods

Smith, K and Wilkinson, C (2024) The Doppelgänger effect? A comparative study of forensic facial depiction methods. Forensic Science International, 356. p. 111935. ISSN 0379-0738

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This study attempted to assess the reproducibility of 2D and 3D forensic methods for facial depiction from skeletal remains (2D sketch, 3D manual, 3D automated, 3D computer-assisted). In a blind study, thirteen practitioners produced fourteen facial depictions, using the same skull model derived from CT data of a living donor, a biological profile and relevant soft tissue data. The facial depictions were compared to the donor subject using three different evaluation methods: 3D geometric, 2D face recognition ranking and familiar resemblance ratings. Five of the 3D facial depictions (all 3D methods) demonstrated a deviation error within ± 2 mm for ≥ 50% of the total face surface. Overall, no single 3D method (manual, computer assisted, automated) produced consistently high results across all three evaluations. 2D comparisons with a facial photograph of the donor were carried out for all the 2D and 3D facial depictions using four freely available face recognition algorithms (Toolpie; Photomyne; Face ++; Amazon). The 2D sketch method produced the highest ranked matches to the donor photograph, with overall ranking in the top six. Only one 3D facial depiction was ranked highly in both the 3D geometric and 2D face recognition comparisons. The majority (67%) of the facial depictions were rated as limited or moderate resemblance by the familiar examiner. Only one 2D facial depiction was rated as strong resemblance, whilst two 2D sketches and two 3D facial depictions were rated as good resemblances by the familiar examiner. The four most geometrically accurate 3D facial depictions were only rated as limited or moderate resemblance to the donor by the familiar examiner. The results suggest that where a consistent facial depiction method is utilised, we can expect relatively consistent metric reliability between practitioners. However, presentation standards for practitioners would greatly enhance the possibility of recognition in forensic scenarios.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Comparative; Depiction; Facial; Forensic; Reproducibility; Legal & Forensic Medicine
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Art & Design
Publisher: Elsevier
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 12:03
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 12:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2024.111935
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22664
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