Photograph Identity Questions 4, 5 & 6 – Results

Thank you to the 21 people who responded to Photograph Identity Questions 4, 5 & 6. A couple of people did not answer all three questions, so each ended up with 20 answers as follows:

Face comparison 4,5 & 6 results

Face comparison 4,5 & 6 results

The no votes have it, to varying degrees, with 70% for photo pair 4, 60% for photo pair 5, and 90% for photo pair 6. From these results, pair 6 certainly seems to be different people, but it is hard to be so sure for pair 4 and pair 5.

In this series, I have now asked ‘Is this the same person?’ for 6 pairs of faces. Photo pair 1 was a control case where I knew the answer was ‘No’. Photo pairs 2 to 6 are all about comparing people in the group photo below with other photos in the same album.

group photo

Allport, Thomas B. (photographer, Uttoxeter). ca. 1860s-early 1870s. Group of 8 people. Faces extracted for comparison in photo pairs 2-6.

To recap all 6 results:

Photo pair Result Result% Strathclyde result
1 No 76% Human: Yes 69%; Picasa: Yes, threshold 65
2 Yes 94% Human: Yes 94%; Picasa: Yes, threshold 75
3 No 65%
4 No 70%
5 No 60% Human: Yes 82%; Picasa: Yes, threshold 65
6 No 90%

Three of the photo pairs were included in a project I undertook in 2010 for the Genealogical Studies postgraduate program at the University of Strathclyde. The methods were a little different as most respondents gave their answers offline and they were asked to give ‘instant’ answers rather than try to consciously analyse the photo pairs. In the Strathclyde study, 4 of the 5 control face pairs known to be the same person scored 70% or more ‘Yes’ votes, but only 1 of 4 the control face pairs known to be different people scored over 70% of ‘No’ votes. So I thought responses to face pairs of unknown identity with a substantial majority of ‘Yes’ votes, especially those over 80%, were likely the same people. I hoped for consistent results for the 3 pairs repeated in this series. Photo pair 2 delivered the same result, but photo pairs 1 and 5 did not.

Comments from respondents suggest that they spent time consciously analysing the photo pairs. If undecided did you vote ‘No’? Did you become less sure the longer you tried to analyse the photos? Are these potential reasons for the preponderance of ‘No’ votes? Could the 60-70% middle ground ‘No’ votes really indicate uncertainty? I welcome comments on these questions.

I admit that I hoped that pairs 2 – 6 would have decisive ‘Yes’ answers to support the conclusions summarised in Cartes de Visite album links to the Stanley family and Earls of Derby.

© Sue Adams 2014

Photograph Identity Questions 2 & 3 – Results

Thank you to those who responded to Photograph Identity Questions 2 & 3. 17 responses were recorded as follows:

Face comparison 2 & 3 results

Face comparison 2 & 3 results

The 94% yes vote is a strong indication that photo pair 2 is the same young woman. The 65% no vote for the boy and young man in photo pair 3 is much less certain.

The blog post was promoted on twitter, Google+ and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. I disabled comments on the blog post and Google+, and only 2 people commented on Twitter. So I think the responses probably were not influenced by comments.

Compared to the 51 votes lodged for face pair 1 in Photograph Identity Question, 17 is a little disappointing, but may be due to less traffic to the blog. The responses in both cases dropped off within a couple of days of publication. Did asking one more question, or the appearance of the blog post affect the response rate? Had the novelty worn off and is the audience bored with the same question about different photo pairs?

As I have some more face comparisons to present, I would really like some insights on boosting the response rate. Please comment!

© Sue Adams 2014

Photograph Identity Question – The Answer

A little over a week ago I posed the question of whether these two young women were the same person. Thank you to all who voted or commented.

Face Pair 1

Face Pair 1

51 votes have been lodged, of which 39 (76%) voted no, and 12 (24%) voted yes. I held off publishing comments for a few days, but people could have seen comments on twitter, facebook, and google+ where I promoted the post.

I also posted the same poll on the Genealogy group on Facebook, resulting in 9 (45%) voted no, 6 (30%) voted yes and 5 (25%) voted maybe. Although the question originally only had yes/no options, someone added maybe early in the vote. Voters could see comments by others.

These results do not agree with an offline study I did a while ago with 35 people who had no opportunity to compare notes and a limited time to answer. 11 (31%) voted no, and 24 (69%) voted yes.

Comments suggest people spent some time looking closely at ears, noses, eyes, hair and lips. Several people commented that it is tricky and suggested the pair may be sisters or twins.

Presenting the poll via social media brought in more respondents, but it is hard to know how much they influenced one another. The combined number of respondents is 106, which may not be enough to yield a statistically valid result.

So, are the two young women the same person?

No. They appear in the same photograph.

Silvy portrait of B and A Lambert

Silvy, Camille (photographer). 13 July 1862. Portrait of B & A Lambert taken at 38 Porchester Terrace, Bayswater W. Personal collection of Sue Adams. Identified by Mark Haworth-Booth as no 10568 in Silvy’s Daybook Volume 8, National Portrait Gallery.

Are they related? The photographer’s record names them as B & A Lambert, so I would say yes. More research is needed to establish the exact nature of the relationship.


© Sue Adams 2014