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Perceptual and computational detection of face morphing

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number4
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Vision
Issue number3
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)1-18
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A relatively new type of identity theft uses morphed facial images in identification documents in which images of two individuals are digitally blended to create an image that maintains a likeness to each of the original identities. We created a set of high-quality digital morphs from passport-style photos for a diverse set of people across gender, race, and age. We then examine people’s ability to detect facial morphing both in terms of determining if two side-by-side faces are of the same individual or not and in terms of identifying if a face is the result of digital morphing. We show that human participants struggle at both tasks. Even modern machine-learning-based facial recognition struggles to distinguish between an individual and their morphed version. We conclude with a hopeful note, describing a computational technique that holds some promise in recognizing that one facial image is a morphed version of another.