Cognitive onsultants International   Cognitive Consultants International

Forensic Identification

We are a group of researchers investigating human factors and cogntiive issues in forensic identification and their solutions (e.g., Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU)). This applied area of cognitive forensics bring together a number of domains in human information processing in which we specialize within cognitive psychology. These domains include pattern recognition, mental representations, decision making, expertise, visual cognition, and knowledge acquisition. These areas all converge together in the applied domains of biometrics and the criminal justice system. Other areas of interest to us which are vital for biometric and forensic applications are the use and integration of technology and selection & training of examiners; including issues of confirmation & other cognitive biases, and optimizing decision making (for more information, please also see the pages dedicated to decision making and to cognition & technology).  

We have taken our expertise in these areas and our understanding of human performance & cognition and have applied them to real world issues (not only in forensic science, but in many other expert domains, such as medicine, frontline policing, and US Air Force pilots).


Through Cognitive Consultants International (CCI-HQ) we have provided training and consultancy to forensic examiners on how to deal with and minimize confirmation and other cognitive biases (e.g., to police forces and national forensic institutes in the Netherland, Finland and Australia, as well as to police forces in the US and the UK, such as the London Metrapolitan Police, Greater Manchester Police, NYPD, SFPD, LAPD, and the FBI). We have also provided expert reports and testimony on these issues to the courts (e.g., in the case of R v Shahiriar Firouzian, and the Levi Bellfield serial killer case in the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London), and to legislators (e.g., MD Senate hearings on Bill 404 regarding Criminal Law – Death Penalty – Evidence). We provided consultancy to the UK Passport and Identity Services on reducing fraud detection through facial recognition. Dr Itiel Dror is an Associate Editor and on the Board of Editors of a number of scientific journals, such as Science & Justice, Forensic Science Policy & Management, and Pragmatics & Cognition.His research has been cited throughout the National Academy of Sciences report on Forensic Science (2009), the Fingerprint Enquiry Report, and in dozens of court cases (e.g., by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in the case of Commonwealth vs. Gambora, 2010; by the Court of Appeal in the UK, in the cases of R v Dlugosz, Pickering, and MDS, 2013).

See Dr. Dror's presentation to the National Commission on Forensic Science. 

Dr. Itiel Dror has received the 2014 ABP (Association for Business Psychology) Annual Award for 'Excellence in Training' for his work in improving decision making and reducing bias in forensic science, and is the Chair of the OSAC Forensic Human Factors Committee of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) & National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr Dror is also a member of the AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science) Advisory Committee on Forensic Science Assessment (a project in which the AAAS will conduct an analysis of the underlying scientific bases for the forensic tools and methods currently used in the criminal justice system).

See list of current projects and activities; publications are listed below. 


Watch a BBC's Newsnight interview with Dr. Dror on fingerprint identification reliability and error, or hear BBC's documentary on fingerprinting

Also, see PBS 'Frontline' TV (USA) "Can Unconscious Bias Undermine Fingerprint Analysis?

And, Dr Itiel Dror's presentation in front of the National Commission on Forensic Science. 


See a general paper on Forensic labs explore blind testing to prevent errors - evidence examiners get practical about fighting cognitive bias' that appeared in Science, or  Ignorance is bliss that appeared in The Economist, or The Fine Print that appeared in Nature, or a brief to the Houses of Parliament.

See a variety of Practical Solutions as well as a specific policy of Linear Sequential Unmaksing (LSU) to deal with biases in forensic sciene work.  

For more technical articles, see  'Context Management Toolbox: A Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU) Approach for Minimizing Cognitive Bias in Forensic Decision Making' or Meta-Analytically Quantifying the Reliability and Biasability of Forensic experts that appeared in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and Cognitive issues in fingerprint analysis: Inter-and intra-expert consistency and the effect of a 'target' comparison that appeared in the journal Forensic Science International.

For a paper that focuses on the use of technology, see The use of technology in human expert domains: Challenges and risks arising from the use of automated fingerprint identification systems in forensics, that appeared in the journal Law, Probability and Risk.

Additional papers are listed below. For information or enquiries, please e-mail:

More publications and presentations on these issues:

Dror, I. E., Thompson, W.C., Meissner, C.A, Kornfield, I., Krane, D., Saks, M., & Risinger, M. (2015).  Context Management Toolbox: A Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU) Approach for Minimizing Cognitive Bias in Forensic Decision Making. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 60 (4), 1111-1112. 

Dror, I. E. (2014). Practical Solutions to Cognitive and Human Factor Challenges in Forensic Science. Forensic Science Policy & Management, 4, 105-113.

Mattijssen, E., Kerkhoff, W., Berger, C., Dror, I., and Stoel, R.  (in press). Implementing context management in forensic casework: Minimizing contextual bias in firearms examination. Science and Justice. 

Nakhaeizadeh, S., Dror, I. E. &  Morgan, R. (2014). Cognitive bias in forensic anthropology: Visual assessments of skeletal remains is susceptible to confirmation bias. Science & Justice, 54 (3), 208–214​. 

Dror, I. E. (2013). The ambition to be scientific: Human expert performance and objectivity. Science and Justice, 53 (2), 81-82. 

Dror, I. E., Kassin, S. M., & Kukucka, J. (2013). New application of psychology to law: Improving forensic evidence and expert witness contributions. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2 (1), 78-81.

Kassin, S. M., Dror, I. E., & Kukucka, J. (2013). The forensic confirmation bias: Problems, perspectives, and proposed solutions. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2 (1), 42-52. 

Dror, I. E. (in press). Cognitive neuroscience in forensic science: Understanding and utilising the human element. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 

Fraser-Mackenzie, P., Dror, I. E., & Wertheim, K. (2013). Cognitive and contextual influences in determination of latent fingerprint suitability for identification judgments. Science & Justice, 53 (2), 144-153..

Dror, I. E. & Stoel, R.  (in press).  Cognitive forensics: human cognition, contextual information and bias. In the Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Springer.

Dror, I. E. (2012). Combating bias: The next step in fighting cognitive and psychological contamination. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57 (1), 276-277.

Dror, I. E. & Hampikian, G. (2011). Subjectivity and bias in forensic DNA mixture interpretation. Science & Justice, 51 (4), 204-208.  

Dror, I. E. (2013). What is (or will be) happening to the cognitive abilities of forensic experts in the new technological age. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 58 (2), 563. 

Dror, I. E. (2012). Cognitive forensics and experimental research about bias in forensic casework. Science and Justice, 52 (2), 128-130. 

Dror, I. E., Wertheim, K., Fraser-Mackenzie, P., and Walajtys, J. (2012). The impact of human-technology cooperation and distributed cognition in forensic science: Biasing effects of AFIS contextual information on human experts. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57 (2), 343-352.

Dror, I. E., Champod, C., Langenburg, G., Charlton, D., Hunt, H., & Rosenthal R. (2011). Cognitive issues in fingerprint analysis: Inter-and intra-expert consistency and the effect of a 'target' comparison. Forensic Science International, 208, 10-17

Edmond, G.,  Tangen, J.,  Searston, R. & Dror, I. E. (in press). Contextual bias and cross-contamination in the forensic sciences:  The corrosive implications for investigations, plea bargains, trials and appeals. Law, Probability, and Risk, 14 (1), 1-25.  

Sung, M., Johnson, J.E. & Dror, I. E. (2009). Complexity as a guide to understanding decision bias: A contribution to the favorite-longshot bias debate. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 22 (3), 318-337.
Dror, I.E. (2012). Plenary resentation on "Cognitive Forensics, Expertise, the Biasing Snowball Effect, and Context Management in Forensic Investigations" at the 6th Annual European Academy of Forensic Science Conference, 20 Augugst 2012. 

Kellman, P.J, Mnookin, J.L., Erlikhman, G., Garrigan, P.,  Ghose, T., Mettler, E., Charlton, D., and Dror, I. E. (2014). Forensic Comparison and Matching of Fingerprints: Using Quantitative Image Measures for Estimating Error Rates through Understanding and Predicting Difficulty. PLoS ONE 9(5), e94617.  

Stoel, R.D., Berger, C.E.H., Kerkhoff, W., Mattijssen, E.J.A.T. & Dror, I.E. (in press). Minimizing contextual bias in forensic casework. In M. Hickman and K. Strom (Eds.), Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice. SAGE Publishing.  

Dror, I. E. (2009). How can Francis Bacon help forensic science? The four idols of human biases. Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, 50, 93-110. 

Stoel, R.D., Dror, I. E., and Miller, L. S. (2014). Bias among forensic document examiners: Still a need for procedural changes. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 46 (1), 91-97​.
Busey, T. & Dror, I.E. (2011). Special Abilities and Vulnerabilities in Forensic Expertise. In The Fingerprint Sourcebook, (ch. 15, pp. 1-23). Washington DC: NIJ Press.

Dror, I. E. & Cole, S. (2010). The vision in 'blind' justice: Expert perception, judgment and visual cognition in forensic pattern recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17(2), 161-167.

Dror, I. E. (2012). Invited presentation on "Expert Evidence: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" at the After Court Seminar program for High Court Judges, Deputy High Court Judges, Judges of the Court of Appeal, and Justices of the Supreme Court. 

Dror, I. E. & Mnookin, J. (2010). The use of technology in human expert domains: Challenges and risks arising from the use of automated fingerprint identification systems in forensics. Law, Probability and Risk, 9 (1), 47-67.

Dror, I.E.  (2006). Cognitive science serving security: Assuring useable and efficient biometric and technological solutions. Aviation Security International, 12 (3), 21-28.

Dror, I. D. (2009). On proper research and understanding of the interplay between bias and decision outcomes. Forensic Science International, 191, 17-18. 

Dror, I. E. (2012). Cognitive bias in forensic science. 2012 Science & Technology Yearbook, pp. 43-45. McGraw-Hil.

Dror, I. E. (2012). Expectations, contextual information, and other cognitive influences in forensic laboratories. Science and Justice, 52 (2), 132. 

Dror, I.E. & Charlton, D. (2006). Why experts make errors. Journal of Forensic Identification, 56 (4), 600-616.

Dror, I.E.  (2006). The psychology of police performance and decision making. Police Professional, 58, 37-39.

Fraser-Mackenzie, P. & Dror, I. E. (2009). Selective information sampling: Cognitive coherence in evaluation of a novel item. Judgment and Decision Making, 4 (4), 307-316.

Mnookin, J., Cole, S., Dror, I. E., Fisher, B., Houck, M., Inman, K.,. Kaye, D., Koehler, J., Langenburg, G. Risinger, M. Rudin, N. Siegel, J., and  Stoney, D. (2011). The need for a research culture in the forensic sciences. UCLA Law Review, 58 (3), 725-779.

Dror, I. E., Busemeyer, J.R., & Basola, B. (1999). Decision making under time pressure: An independent test of sequential sampling models. Memory and Cognition, 27 (4), 713-725.

Charlton, D., Fraser-Mackenzie, P., and Dror, I. E. (2010). Emotional experiences and motivating factors associated with fingerprint analysis. Journal of Forensics Sciences, 55 (2), 385-393.

Dror, I. E. (2011). The paradox of human expertise: Why experts get it wrong. In N. Kapur (Ed.) The Paradoxical Brain (pp. 177-188). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dror, I.E. (2009). The role of cognition in expert performance. Forensic Science in the 21st Century Conference. Arizona, USA.

Dror, I.E. & Fraser-Mackenzie, P. (2008). Cognitive biases in human perception, judgment, and decision making: Bridging theory and the real world. In K. Rossmo (Ed.) Criminal Investigative Failures (pp 53-67). Taylor & Francis Publishing.

Dror, I. E. & Bucht, R. (2011). Psychological perspectives on problems with forensic science evidence. In B. Cutler (Ed.), Conviction of the Innocent:  Lessons from Psychological Research. American Psychological Association Press. 

Nakhaeizadeh, S., Morgan, R., and Dror, I. E. (2014). The effect of cognitive bias in forensic anthropology: The power of context in the interpretation of skeletal remains. 22nd ANZFSS International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences.  Adelaide, Australia. 

Dror, I.E. (2008). Forensics in the courtroom: An objective tool or a subjective prop?   Psychology and the Law: Emerging Trends Symposium. Psychonomic. Chicago, USA.

Stoel, R.D., Berger, C.E.H., Kerkhoff, W., & Dror, I.E. (2012). Context management: Minimising the influence of domain-irrelevant information on forensic judgment and interpretation. 6th Annual European Academy of Forensic Science Conference. The Hague, the Netherlands.

Nakhaeizadeh, S., Dror, I., and Morgan, R. (2015). The emergence of cognitive bias in forensic science and criminal investigations. British Journal of American Legal Studies, 4, 527-554.

Dror, I.E (2008) The role of perception: secure and deterrent in airports and airplanes. International Air Transport Association Annual Meeting. Seoul, South Korea.

Stibel, J. M., Dror, I. E., & Ben-Zeev, T. (2009). Dissociating Choice and Judgment in Decision Making:  The Collapsing Choice Theory. Theory and Decision, 66 (2), 149-179.
Dror, I.E.  (2008). Confirmation bias. Annual Conference of NIJ (National Institute of Justice). Washington, D.C., USA.

Bucht, R., & Dror, I.E. (2011). Cognitive Profiling: Defining and quantifying the cognitive underpinning of expertise in latent print examination. 19th World Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS). Madeira, Portugal.

Dror, I. E. (2008). Expert Decision Making: Confirmation, contextual & other cognitive biases. Society of Expert Witnesses Conference on Trust and be Trusted. Swindon, UK.

Dror, I. E. (2008). Biased brains. Police Review, 116, 20-23.

Dror, I. E. & Stevenage, S. (eds.) (2000).Facial Information Processing: A  multidisciplinary perspective. (276 pp.) John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Dror, I. E. (2007). Perception of risk and the decision to use force. Policing, 1, 265-272.

Peron, A. E., Dror, I. E., & Bucks, R.  (2005). The number of choice alternatives in a decision making task: Cursed by, or spoilt for choice?  9th European Congress of Psychology. Granada, Spain. 

Nakhaeizadeh, S., Morgan, R., & Dror, I.E. (2014). Cognitive bias in forensic anthropology: Visual assessments of skeletal remains is susceptible to confirmation bias. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 66th Annual Meeting, Seattle.

Schmitz-Williams, I., Dror, I. E., & Durston, H.  (2005). Visual features affect mental representations and transformations: curvature and closure bias toward piecemeal or holistic processing in mental imagery.  9th European Congress of Psychology. Granada, Spain.

Charlton, D., Peron, A.E., & Dror, I. E., (2004). The interplay of perceptual and cognitive elements in fingerprint identification: When higher-level cognition can facilitated or hinder fingerprint matching. International Biometric Society, British Region Annual Meeting. Royal Statistical Society, London, UK.

Dror, I.E. and Rosenthal, R. (2008). Meta-analytically quantifying the reliability and biasability of forensic experts. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 53(4), 900-903.

Dror, I.E. (2006). A holistic-cognitive approach for success in technology. Biometric Technology Today, 14(8), 7-8.

Dror, I. E. (2007). Evaluating scientific evidence for the courts. Evidence in the Courtroom: Possibilities and Challenges, Validity and Value. Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. Cambridge, UK.

Dror, I. E. (2007).  Perception and bias in risk judgments. Metropolitan Police Seminar on Bringing Science to the Streets. London.

Dror, I.E.  (2006). The psychology of police performance and decision making. Police Professional, 58, 37-39.

Dror, I.E.  (2005). Psychology and fingerprint experts. European Forensic Science Meeting, Magdeburg, Germany

Dror, I. E., Charlton, D. (2005). New contributions of cognitive psychology to forensic science derive from a focus on the forensic expert perspective. 9th European Congress of Psychology. Granada, Spain.

Dror, I. E., Charlton, D. (2005). The vulnerability of fingerprint science and potential pitfalls in the identification process. How can they be addressed and overcome? Fingerprint Society Meeting. Brighton, UK.

Dror, I. E. (2004). The effects of screening, training, and experience of Air Force fighter pilots: The plasticity of the ability to extrapolate and track multiple objects in motion. North American Journal of Psychology, 6 (2), 239-252.

Ashman, O., Dror, I. E., Houlette, M., & Levy, B. (2003).  Preserved risk-taking skills in old age. North American Journal of Psychology, 5 (3), 397-407.

Smith, W., Dror, I. E., & Mander, H. (2003). The effect of training specificity on performance in novel and related tasks. XX BPS Annual Cognitive Conference.

Dror, I. E., Langer, E.J., Houlette, M., & Ashworth, R.S.( 2001). Training and tasks demands that restrict and enhance performance. Psychonomic Abstracts, 6, 85.

Baden, D., Dror, I. E., and Warwick-Evans, L.A. (2000). The dynamics within and between decisions. Psychonomic Abstracts, 4, 81.

Rafaely, V., Dror, I. E., and Remington, B. (2000). Working memory capacity in old age affects decision-making performance. British Psychological Cognitive Section Annual Conference.

Dror, I. E. & Burwell, K. (1999). The effects of prior knowledge on cognitive performance of older people. 6th European Congress of Psychology, 141.

Ashworth, A.R.S., & Dror, I. E. (2001). Object Identification as a Function of Discriminability and Learning Presentations: The Effect of Stimulus Similarity and Canonical Frame Alignment on Aircraft Identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 6 (2), 148-157.

Ashworth, R. S., Dror, I. E., Snooks, S. F., Robbins, R.D., & Schreiner, C.S. (1997). Canonical and non-canonical presentations during training determine the specificity of the object representations. Psychonomic Abstracts, 2, 627. Philadelphia, PA.

Dror, I. E., Ashworth, R. S., Schreiner, C.S., Robbins, R.D., & Snooks, S. F. (1997). The primacy effect on identification: Initial presentations during training establish long lasting representations. Psychonomic Abstracts, 2, 628. Philadelphia, PA.

Schreiner, C. S., Smith, K. M., & Dror, I. E. (1997). Visual-spatial processing of objects presented from canonical and non-canonical viewpoints. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting Abstracts, 25. Boston, MA.

Dror, I. E., Kosslyn, S. M., & Waag, W. (1993). Visual-spatial abilities of pilots. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78 (5), 763-773.

Dror, I.E.  (2007). Expert error in forensic identification decisions, Psychology and the Law   Symposium. British Psychological Annual Meeting. York, UK.

Dror, I.E.  (2006). The right for identity and for anonymity in mirror of biometric technologies. NATO Advanced Research Workshop. Jerusalem, Israel.

Dror, I. E., Charlton, D. (2006). Policing and forensics depend on cognition, psychology, and the human mind. Interpol Conference. Lyon, France.

Dror, I.E. (2005). Perception is far from perfection: The role of the brain and mind in constructing realities. Brain and Behavioural Sciences 28 (6), 763.

Dror, I.E. (2005). Technology and human expertise: Some do’s and don’ts. Biometric Technology Today, 13 (9), 7-9.

Dror, I.E.  (2005). Identification, technology, and human experts: Where might it go wrong? European Commission Conference on Biometric Identification. Brussels, Belgium.

Dror, I.E.  (2005). Psychological and cognitive elements involved in biometric identification. Biometrics 2005, London.

Dror, I.E.  (2005). Why should fingerprint experts care about psychology?  International Association for Identification. Vermont, USA

Dror, I.E., Charlton, D., & Peron A. (2006). Contextual information renders experts vulnerable to making erroneous identifications.    Forensic Science International, 156 (1), 74-78.

Rafaely, V., Dror, I. E., & Remington, R. E. (2006).  Information selectivity in decision making by young and older adults. International Journal of Psychology, 41 (2), 117-131.

Dror, I. E., Rafaely, V., & Busemyer, J. R. (1999). The dynamics of decision making as a function of recent outcomes and possible consequences. 6th European Congress of Psychology, 86.

Rafaely, V. & Dror, I. E. (1999). Avoidance payoff does not affect decision making by older adults. British Psychological Cognitive Section XVI Annual Conference.

Smith, W. & Dror, I. E. (1999). Configural Information Contributes More to Object Representation than Featural Information. British Psychological Cognitive Section XVI Annual Conference.

Rafaely, V., Dror, I. E., & Busemeyer, J. R. (1998). The susceptibility of young and old adults to positive and negative outcomes of recent decisions. Psychonomic Abstracts, 3, 41.

Dror, I.E., Peron, A., Hind, S., & Charlton, D. (2005). When emotions get the better of us: The effect of contextual top-down processing on matching fingerprints. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19(6), 799-809.

Dror, I.E. (2004). Cognitive psychology and forensic decision making. Royal Statistical Society Meeting. London.

Dror, I. E., Charlton, D., &  Peron, A.E. (2004). Evaluating ‘scientific’ evidence for the court: What contributing factors are really involved in fingerprint identification. ICARIS. Sheffield, UK.

Dror, I. E., Peron, A.E., & Charlton, D. (2004). Psychological factors involved in fingerprint identification. Autumn Conference of the Forensic Science Society. Bedfordshire, UK.

Peron, A.E., Dror, I. E., Hind, S.L, & Charlton, D. (2004). Decision making processes involved in fingerprint identification: The influence of emotional context on finding a match. 14th International Forensic Science Symposium. Lyon, France.

For information or enquiries, please e-mail:

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