Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Science of Matching Fingerprints: Similarity, Sequence, and Size

Matthew B. Thompson, University of Queensland

9:30-10:30 am
Psychology & Social Behavior conference room, Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway Room 4323

For over a century, the matching of fingerprints has been used for forensic identification. Despite that history, there have been no published, peer-reviewed studies directly examining the extent to which experts can correctly match fingerprints to one another.

Our research investigates human perceptual and cognitive processes underlying identification of complex visual stimuli, such as fingerprints. I’ll summarize a program of research from Canada and Australia on manipulations that affect fingerprint matching accuracy, namely: similarity, sequential vs. simultaneous presentation, and size.

I will also discuss our plans to create an international collaborative institute for policing and security in Australia. We hope to provide tools, technologies and policies to help forensic and intelligence experts optimize their decision making.