Identity change: New hairstyle makes it possible

People who change their appearance with a new hairstyle or Make-up, surprisingly detected rarely. This applies even when direct comparison of two photos of the same Person, as U.S. researchers have found.

Changes like a new hairstyle seem to be a real challenge for the recognition of a face: In 30 percent of cases, faces, whose appearance had been altered were not detected, again – even if the subjects were warned that some of the people had changed in the photos, their appearance. It was otherwise, if the test persons knew the people in the pictures already: Then you looked at the changes reliably.

Dr. Rob Jenkins of the Department of psychology at the University of York, explained: "If you are not with a face familiar, they are easy to superficial changes, such as the hairstyle or the hair color fool you. However, if you know a face, they tend to rely more on internal facial features – eyes, nose, and mouth, are a lot of change more difficult."

For the detection of fraud cases, the results have relevance, for example, when people try to travel with a foreign passport. Another method is to try to look different, such as in witness protection programs, in covert investigations, or in the case of fugitive Suspects.

Researchers from the universities of York and Huddersfield showed study participants photos of faces that had changed her appearance due to a different hair color or hairstyle, Make-up or facial hair. To create an incentive for large changes, the model a reward, which could deceive the majority of the study participants.


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