It’s all about the hairline

The latest in my ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ series – taken from The Great Courses’ Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works (Lecture 25 – Police Sketches & Facial Reproduction)

So…apparently lab tests measuring people’s eye-lines and scanning activity have shown that that modern humans pay more attention to the upper face than the lower, and slightly less time on the eyes than the rest of the upper face.

In other words, we apparently pay more attention to age, face-shape and hairline than the eyes of someone we look at.

As someone who thought she watched eyes and lips almost exclusively this is surprising news. I can’t imagine why—evolutionarily—the age, face-shape and hairline of someone would have greater impact on my memory than the eyes but maybe it has something to do with defined lines. You’d think we’d be at a biological advantage to watch someone’s eyes closely (for intent, for communication, for connection, for socialisation…)

It also suggests that people trying to disguise themselves should focus more on hats and wigs than sunglasses.

You know…for your next crime.