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  2. Dr Hayley Ness

Dr Hayley Ness

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am currently the Postgraduate Director for the Department of Psychology.

Research interests

My research is primarily in the area of eyewitness memory for faces, although I also have wider interests in face processing, eyewitness memory and the use of visual evidence in court. My PhD focused on improving facial composites using the PROfit system and different methods such as morphing composites from multiple witnesses, constructing composites in different views and examining verbal descriptions were examined. More recently I have become interested in individual differences  - why do some witnesses construct better composites than others? And I have recently conducted a pilot ERP study to examine the perceptual and cognitive processes during facial composite construction.

I am a member of the Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC), which is one of the six Open University centres of research excellence. I organised the annual conference (July 2011) which focused on ‘Constructions of Evidence’. This conference brought together key academics and practitioners from diverse fields to discuss themes such as the use of expert evidence in court. I have set-up an OpenLearn website ‘Constructions of Evidence’ to support the conference. The centre also funded a one-day seminar on the impact of visual evidence on juror decision-making, organised in conjunction with the psychology dept and Michael Bromby at Glasgow Caledonian University.

I am also part of the centre’s Forensic Psychology Research Group where I work closely with Prof Graham Pike, Dr Nicky Brace, Dr Gemma Rogers,  Dr Jim Turner, Dr Catriona Havard and Dr Gini Harrison.

Teaching interests

Since joining the university in 2009 I have been a member of the presentation teams for the following modules:

Cognitive Psychology (DD303)
Forensic psychology: crime, offenders and policing (D872)
Forensic psychology: witnesses, experts and evidence on trial (D873)
Exploring Psychology: Online Project (DZX222)

I have also contributed to the production of materials for the Cognitive Psychology (DD303) mid-life review and will be chair of the module from Sept 2011.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Forensic Psychology Research GroupGroupFaculty of Social Sciences
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Advances in Facial Composite Technology, Utilizing Holistic Construction, Do Not Lead to an Increase in Eyewitness Misidentifications Compared to Older Feature-Based Systems (2019-08-28)
Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola; Turner, Jim; Ness, Hayley and Vredeveldt, Annelies
Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 1962

Entitlement to Tell on Police Facebook Sites (2019-05-01)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Harrison, Virginia and Ness, Hayley
Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 22(5) (pp. 355-357)

Are you talking to me? How identity is constructed on police-owned Facebook sites (2018-10)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia
Narrative Inquiry, 28(2) (pp. 280-300)

Are two views better than one? Investigating three-quarter view facial composites (2015)
Ness, Hayley; Hancock, Peter J.B.; Bowie, Leslie; Bruce, Vicki and Pike, Graham
Journal of Forensic Practice, 17(4) (pp. 291-306)

Parallel approaches to composite production: interfaces that behave contrary to expectation (2007-04)
Frowd, Charlie D.; Bruce, Vicki; Ness, Hayley; Bowie, Leslie; Paterson, Jenny; Thomson-Bogner, Claire; McIntyre, Alex and Hancock, Peter J. B.
Ergonomics, 50(4) (pp. 562-585)

Over-observed? What is the quality of CCTV in this new digital legal world? (2006-03)
Bromby, Michael and Ness, Hayley
International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 20(1&2) (pp. 105-115)

A forensically valid comparison of facial composite systems (2005-03)
Frowd, Charlie, D.; Carson, Derek; Ness, Hayley; Richardson, Jan; Morrison, Lisa; McLanaghan, Sarah and Hancock, Peter
Psychology, Crime & Law, 11(1) (pp. 33-52)

Contemporary composite techniques: the impact of a forensically-relevant target delay (2005-02)
Frowd, CHarlie D.; Carson, Derek; Ness, Hayley; McQuiston-Surrett, Dawn; Richardson, Jan; Baldwin, Hayden and Hancock, Peter
Legal and Criminological Psychology, 10(1) (pp. 63-81)

Four heads are better than one: Combining face composites yields improvements in face likeness (2002-10)
Bruce, Vicki; Ness, Hayley; Hancock, Peter J. B; Newman, Craig and Rarity, Jenny
Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(5) (pp. 894-902)

An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders (2013-12-17)
Groome, David; Brace, Nicola; Edgar, Graham; Edgar, Helen; Eysenck, Michael; Manly, Tom; Ness, Hayley; Pike, Graham; Scott, Sophie and Styles, Elizabeth eds.
ISBN : 978-1848720916 | Publisher : Psychology Press | Published : Hove, East Sussex

The use of Facebook in creating police identity (2018-03-01)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia
In : 2018 Conference of the Society of Evidence Based Policing (1-2 Mar 2018)

How to develop evidence based practice to support witnesses on the autistic spectrum (ASD) when they give evidence (2018-03-01)
Lali, Dionysia; Pike, Graham and Ness, Hayley
In : 2018 Conference of the Society of Evidence Based Policing (1-2 Mar 2018)

What’s so ‘super’ about super recognisers? (2016)
Harrison, Virginia; Ness, Hayley and Skelton, Faye
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2016) (5-8 Jul 2016, Toulouse, France)

Police perceptions of eyewitness evidence and research (2015)
Harrison, Virginia; Pike, Graham; Havard, Catriona and Ness, Hayley
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2015) (4-7 Aug 2015, Nuremberg, Germany)

An investigation into the use of CCTV footage to improve likeness in facial composites (2006)
Ness, Hayley and Bruce, Vicki
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2006) (27-30 Jun 2006, Liverpool University, Liverpool)