Are you a “super-matcher”? (A link to the online test is below.)
Study reveals how well some people can compare complex visual images, like fingerprints or specific facial features, without a background in forensic sciences.
In a pioneering new study, Dr. Growns and colleagues investigated how well some people can compare complex visual images like fingerprints and faces.
The researchers asked a group of people to carry out four visual identity matching tasks containing faces, fingerprints, firearms, and artificial prints. Participants were asked to compare two images side-by-side and decide if they came from the same source or different sources.
They found that some participants were highly accurate across all four tasks—a feat achieved without any forensic science background or training.
Take the test here, and leave a comment below with your score:
Visual comparison—comparing visual stimuli (e.g., fingerprints) side by side and determining whether they originate from the same or different source (i.e., “match”)—is a complex discrimination task involving many cognitive and perceptual processes. Despite the real-world consequences of this task, which is often conducted by forensic scientists, little is understood about the psychological processes underpinning this ability. There are substantial individual differences in visual comparison accuracy amongst both professionals and novices. The source of this variation is unknown, but may reflect a domain-general and naturally varying perceptual ability. Here, we investigate this by comparing individual differences (N = 248 across two studies) in four visual comparison domains: faces, fingerprints, firearms, and artificial prints. Accuracy on all comparison tasks was significantly correlated and accounted for a substantial portion of variance (e.g., 42% in Exp. 1) in performance across all tasks. Importantly, this relationship cannot be attributed to participants’ intrinsic motivation or skill in other visual-perceptual tasks (visual search and visual statistical learning). This paper provides novel evidence of a reliable, domain-general visual comparison ability.
I got 13 out of 16. I think it would be easier if they showed examples of how the stamp worked and the type of materials that were being stamped, but I guess that isn’t part of the test.