Face identity verification: five challenges facing practitioners

David J. Robertson, Matthew C. Fysh, Markus Bindemann

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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The scientific study of facial identification in Psychology is of practical relevance to security operations and police investigations in which establishing the identity of an unfamiliar person is of critical importance. At border control checkpoints, for example, officials compare the face of each traveler to their corresponding passport photograph. A key security threat in these settings is the occurrence of identity mismatches (aka "impostors"), who attempt to evade detection by using stolen or borrowed passports. Recently, impostors have also begun utilizing more sophisticated methods of hiding their identity. In this short review, we outline five of the key challenges for facial identification that are of current relevance to applied security settings, with a focus on how psychological science can be instrumental in overcoming the difficulties that accompany this task.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationKeesing Journal of Documents & Identity
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


  • facial identity verification
  • challenges
  • psychological science

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