Reducing the Negative Effect of the Retention Interval on the Composite Face Recognition

Kyoko Hine, Yuji Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Our memories are quite fragile. We sometimes recognize something unseen as something seen before. This error often causes serious problems, such as the misidentification of composite faces in a criminal investigation. In such a scene, people occasionally claim to have seen a face that is actually a composite face consisting of facial parts separately seen before; this error is called the memory conjunction error. Although the likelihood of the memory conjunction error increases over time, previous studies suggest that it could be suppressed by the number of response options, which are expected to affect the criterion for the “Old” response. Our results show that the presence of three response options reduced the memory conjunction error. Additionally, providing information about the existence of composite faces affected the sensitivity for detecting old faces, whereas three response options affected the criterion. This study might contribute to the improvement of procedures for eyewitness testimony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-312
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 3


  • Criterion shift
  • face recognition
  • memory conjunction error
  • retention interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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