Can the eyes of photographed crime victims help authorities spot their victimizers? According to new research published Thursday in the journal PLOS One, high-resolution photographs can be “mined” for hidden information, reports the Los Angeles Times. The authors said that photographs of faces can reveal enough visual information on bystanders to identify them.
In a small sampling of 32 study participants, test subjects were able to spot familiar faces reflected in the pupils of someone who was photographed 84% of the time, researchers said. When the reflected images were of unfamiliar people, observers were able to match the person to a second mug shot with 71% accuracy. Study authors Rob Jenkins, a psychologist at the University of York in England, and Christie Kerr of the University of Glasgow in Scotland zoomed in on high-resolution face photographs and were were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subject’s eyes.