Identifiable Images of Bystanders Extracted from Corneal Reflections – R. Jenkins, C. Kerr, PLoS ONE 8(12): e83325

Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. In this article the authors combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, they were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects’ eyes. To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, they presented them as stimuli in a face matching task. Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. In a test of spontaneous recognition, observers could reliably name a familiar face from an eye reflection image. For crimes in which the victims are photographed (e.g., hostage taking, child sex abuse), reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators.

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