Investigating the effect of visual load on EvoFIT facial composites

The research programme is investigating the impact of presentation of faces to eyewitnesses during construction of EvoFIT facial composites.

Facial composites are used to allow potential suspects to be identified in a criminal investigation, and so construction of accurate faces is therefore important for effective policing. The current project is exploring ways that faces are presented during face construction using the EvoFIT system, a method that allows a composite to be evolved over time by the selection of faces from alternatives.

Previous research has shown that the way information is presented is important for effective use of a composite system (e.g., Brown et al., 2019; Frowd et al., 2010, 2012; Martin et al., 2018). Specifically, the current project is investigating the impact of the number of faces a witness sees at any one time, and how these faces should best be arranged on the screen.

Primary goals and objectives

  • Development of best practice for interviewing witnesses and victims of crime
  • Adaption of user interfaces for different witness characteristics and situations
  • Optimisation techniques for construction of identifiable composite faces


The project has already provided important clues as to the best interface to human memory. Results should help eyewitnesses to construct the most effective composite of an offender.