Updated: Apr 22

School of Human Sciences

Institute of Lifecourse Development

University of Greenwich

London SE10 9LS



Twitter: @GRecognisers



Planned research: Face aging identification project (£5 Amazon voucher for 8 photos)

Professor Josh P Davis (University of Greenwich)

The Face and Voice Recognition Lab at the University of Greenwich regularly need to create new face recognition tests as we can often only use them once with super-recognisers (super-recognisers may remember the photos). We have had an open invitation on the website to supply face images and recorded voices (depending on research) for over 5 years. Without stimuli we cannot conduct research.

For 2022, we are interested in developing tests for research that measures the accuracy of matching or recognising faces in photos that were taken a few years apart.

We are therefore asking volunteers to provide facial images of themselves for use in these tests. UK passports can be 10 years old, so this has practical applications in the real world.

  • We please need at least 8 images from each volunteer (maximum = 12), each taken in a different year in your life.

  • High-quality selfies or posed social media profile photos in which you are looking towards the camera are likely to be perfect.

  • If uploaded to social media, they are also probably date-stamped, and you will be able to work out your age at the time.

For example, if you are 40 today, photos showing you at the following ages would be perfect.

40 38 36 30 26 23 19 16


40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33

As long as they are from different years, you will receive a £5 Amazon voucher. We are unable to provide vouchers in other currencies – sorry.

We often get asked why we do not use photos from free-to-use facial databases. One of the most important reasons is that anyone who takes our tests can be assured that the people depicted provided full informed consent. There has been a lot of publicity around some computerised face recognition research being conducted without this guarantee. We want to make sure we are following best research and ethical practice.

In addition, most people who provide images are volunteers who also take part in our research. As such, they will be fully informed about how their images will be used when providing consent. It is not possible to make this guarantee about any other photos we may wish to use.

At the bottom of this blog is information about ethics, GDPR, and privacy, and anonymity and how we protect participants’ rights if they supply such stimuli.

Please click below to upload your photos – you will find more ethics information.


Thank you for your support. Josh Davis

Any questions please e-mail: super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk

Ethics, data protection and privacy

  1. Professor Josh P Davis is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and is therefore bound to follow BPS ethics policy (https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-code-ethics-and-conduct). He is also a member of staff of the University of Greenwich. All projects are approved by the University of Greenwich Research Ethics Committee (UREC) (https://www.gre.ac.uk/research/governance-and-awards/research-ethics-committee), although collaborations with other universities may first be approved by their ethics board and noted by UREC.

  2. The photo upload procedure was first approved by the University of Greenwich Research Ethics Committee in 2015 ( amendment to procedures was approved by the same committee in June 2021.

  3. All research data and images stored by the University of Greenwich are retained on a password protected database, and procedures are compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018 (https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/) and the University of Greenwich data protection policy (https://docs.gre.ac.uk/rep/vco/data-protection-policy).

  4. All volunteers on the Face and Voice Recognition lab database have been invited to provide images (many as part of an invite to contribute to other research). We also have an invite on the website. Because there are so many people on the database there is virtually zero possibility of us identifying anyone who provides images.

  5. Participants make up a personal code when uploading photos – we do not use their normal anonymous codes issued for our research.

  6. If someone wants to receive the £5 voucher, they can enter their e-mail address at the end. However, this is in an entirely separate URL link that makes it impossible for us to match the e-mail address back to their photos. It is impossible to get to this step unless at least 8 images have been uploaded.

  7. All images are anonymously coded on the database, linked only by a common code used to match the images supplied by the individual (e.g., someone’s 8 images could be stored as AA001_1, AA001_2, AA001_3 etc etc.).

  8. We will retain age, gender, and ethnicity information against the image files for quick searching. For instance, we often want to find photos of two people from the same demographic background who might be mistaken for one another.

  9. Images may be used in various online tests in future – there are different levels of consent (e.g., we sometimes show images in the media for educational purposes, and we ask for extra consent for this in advance).

  10. If you spot your photo being used in one of our tests and you wish us to delete this, then please make a note of the test name and ideally trial number in that test and please contact super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk.​​ If you remember the personal code you gave us with the photo it might help us identify it too.

  11. Most of the other face recognition tests developed around the world display students. There are probably tens of thousands of research projects every year conducted by psychology students using such stimuli, let alone the hundreds, if not more, that are published. In other words, those who created them, know exactly who contributed. We believe that our processes provide far greater anonymity and privacy guarantees. As is noted in the instructions, “someone who knows you might recognise you. However, we are only interested in unfamiliar face recognition”.

  12. We do not want to know the real identity of anyone who supplies us images – and if ever images get viewed by, for instance, police officers taking part in our research, they are fully aware that volunteers supplied the images – none are criminals.

Please ask questions at super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk if any of the above is unclear.


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