Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Anna Maria Giannini, Emanuela Tizzani, Andrea D’Amore


The identification of the author of a crime is a major objective of the Criminal Police. Amongst tools and procedures to achieve this result, identikit has entered the collective imagination as the police practice that allows a designer to draw the facial features of an offender basing on a witness’s memories.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the psychological processes involved in collecting testimony during the construction of an identikit, in order to suggest an interview procedure that allows operators to put at ease the witness (or victim) and to facilitate the memories, avoiding interrogative suggestion.
The functioning of some processes such as memory, attention, perception, face perception, indeed, affect the formation and recollection of memory, in every phase of face composition, from the moment when the track is formed during the crime, till this trace needs to be recovered from the memory, during the identikit realization.
The procedure to be proposed is based on Karen Taylor’s interview protocol for faces composition, elaborated by the authors in order to adapt it to the reality of Italian culture. The interview, applicable if dedicated software is utilized as well as if images are realized by the freehand drawing, was constructed by linking the practice with scientific data, which are the foundation of procedural suggestions.


Università degli Studi di Roma, Sapienza.

Anna Maria Giannini

Università degli Studi di Roma, Sapienza.

Emanuela Tizzani 

Direzione Centrale Anticrimine della Polizia di Stato, Servizio Polizia Scientifica.

Andrea D’Amore
Contacts: Emanuela Tizzani - email: emanuela.tizzani(at)gmail.com

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n°4/2012



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