Volume 47, Issue 2 (March 2002)
Do Resemblance Ratings Measure the Accuracy of Facial Approximations?
Since forensic facial approximations are used to promote recognition of a deceased person, an accurate forensic facial approximation (FFA) should be easily recognized as the person to whom the skull belonged (target individual). However, the accuracy of FFAs has been previously assessed by the direct comparison of an FFA to the corresponding target individual for similarity (i.e., a resemblance rating). Resemblance ratings may not indicate a facial approximation's accuracy since the resemblance of non-target individuals is not accounted for. This experiment tests the validity of using resemblance ratings to assess the accuracy of FFAs. The study indicates that there is no statistically significant difference between: (a) resemblance ratings of FFAs to target individuals and (b) resemblance ratings of FFAs to individuals incorrectly identified as the target individual. It is concluded that it is not possible from resemblance ratings to determine the accuracy and/or quality of a facial approximation since a non-target individual may receive a resemblance rating equal to, or higher than, the target individual.