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Below are a selection of current research projects from HERC members that you can participate in.

Face Sorting  

You are invited to take part in a study investigating how well we can identify people from images of their faces. You will be shown an array of faces and will be asked to sort them by identity.  We recommend that you complete this study on a computer screen or tablet (as mobile phone screens will be too small). The study should take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and can be accessed here:  

Face Sorting Study

Eyewitness Identification Performance – when is an eyewitness likely to be accurate?

Wrongful convictions due to eyewitness inaccuracy has received significant coverage across the news media, perhaps most notably due to the work of the Innocence Project. (  Understanding the conditions that typically result in accurate eyewitness identifications can contribute to helping Juries to understand how to evaluate eyewitness testimony in court.  This study is part of a broader project that is looking at eyewitness identification performance – when is an eyewitness likely to be correct in their identification of the suspect.  The study involves testing your eyewitness identification skills to see if you can identify a suspect under varying conditions.  This study takes about 10-15 minutes and can only be carried out on a desktop or laptop computer.  Only start the experiment when you have time to complete it and are able to focus on it with no distractions as you will only be allowed one attempt.  Click on the link to begin.

Eyewitness Identification Performance Study

Face matching task

Comparing the faces of people we do not know is a challenging task, much more so than recognising faces that we do know. Despite the difficulty of the task facial comparison is widely used in policing and security to determine a person’s identity, from checking a passport at the border to comparing CCTV images in the courtroom. This experiment forms part of a wider study investigating training, ability and expertise in facial comparison. You can take part by clicking the link below to find out how you score on a challenging face matching task. The task should take around 40 minutes. Please ensure you read the instructions carefully. We recommend you complete the task on a laptop or tablet as the images may be too small to reliably compare on a smart phone.

Face Matching Task

Social media and crime survey

The aim of this survey is to explore some of the issues involved in social networking, particularly around police investigations and how the police engage with the public.

Social Media and Crime Survey

Survey on attitudes to, and expectations and experiences of police investigations

The Open University is conducting an online survey designed to explore the opinions people have about the police and what expectations they have about investigations. If you have witnessed a crime, regardless of whether the crime was investigated by the police or not, there are also questions about your experience. It is part of ongoing research, so please read the description provided in the link below carefully before consenting to participate:

Survey on Witnessing a Crime

Police Ethics

The aim of this research is to find out more about how the public view the police in terms of what behaviour is considered ethical. Through an online survey you will be provided with a series of 11 scenarios concerning the actions taken by a police officer and asked questions as to what your opinion is. It is part of ongoing research, so please read the description provided in the link below carefully before consenting to participate:

Survey on Police Ethics

Forensic Science in Crime Drama

In recent years, people have increasingly been exposed to depictions of forensic science, particularly in television series about police investigations. Most of these programmes, such as CSI, show a mixture of real forensic science techniques, exaggerations of real techniques, and fictional techniques made up for dramatic purposes. We are interested in how people perceive the realism of these TV portrayals of forensic science, and what people see as ‘realistic’ in crime dramas. If you would like to take part in the survey, then please click on the link below.

Survey on Forensic Science in Crime Drama