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Wisdom of the Social Versus Non-social Crowd in Face Identification

NCJ Number
BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY Volume: 109 Issue: 4 Dated: 2018 Pages: 724-735
Date Published
12 pages

In order to determine whether social collaboration adds to the benefits of response averaging for face identification, the current study compared individuals, social dyads, and non-social dyads on an unfamiliar face identity-matching test.


The study also simulated non-social collaborations for larger groups of people. Individuals and social dyads judged whether face image pairs depicted the same or different identities, responding on a 5-point certainty scale. Non-social dyads were constructed by averaging the responses of paired individuals. Both social and non-social dyads were more accurate than individuals. There was no advantage for social over non-social dyads. For larger non-social groups, performance peaked at near perfection with a crowd size of eight participants. The study tested three computational models of social collaboration and found that social dyad performance was predicted by the decision of the more accurate partner. The study concludes that social interaction does not bolster accuracy for unfamiliar face identity matching in dyads beyond what can be achieved by averaging judgements. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018