Identification of a Person from a Photo in Conditions of Unconscious Perception



The article considers the possibility of studying a person’s awareness of the details of a crime through the analysis of his reactions to unconscious stimuli. The study sets three tasks: 1) analysis of the effectiveness of using polygraph surveys in the process of investigating crimes; 2) analysis of the main approaches to the study of unconscious perception and 3) analysis of the results of an experimental study of the possibility of diagnosing the fact of identifying a person from a photograph in conditions of unconscious perception by the dynamics of physiological reactions of the recognizer. During the experiment, visual stimuli were presented to the subject on a computer monitor: a photograph of a person supposedly familiar to the subject and photographs of people unfamiliar to the subject. The stimuli were presented in series, with the duration of exposure necessary to create conditions for unconscious perception. In parallel with the process of presenting stimuli, galvanic skin reactions (CGR) were recorded in the subject using a polygraph. As a result of the experiment, it was found that there were more pronounced CRS (the average amplitude value is 7.2 mm.) occurring in the subject in response to a photograph of a person presumably familiar to him, compared with CRS (the average amplitude value is 1.8 mm.) occurring in the subject in a photograph of unfamiliar faces. The conclusion was formulated about the possibility of experimental diagnostics of the fact of identification of a person by a photograph, in conditions of unconscious perception, through the analysis of the identifying CRG, recorded using a polygraph. It is proposed to use the mechanism of unconscious perception to identify the features of the awareness of persons about the circumstances of crimes during the investigation.

General Information

Keywords: unconscious perception, physiological reactions, polygraph, identification, investigation of crimes

Journal rubric: Interdisciplinary Studies

Article type: scientific article


Received: 06.12.2021


For citation: Svobodny F.K., Lavreshkin N.V. Identification of a Person from a Photo in Conditions of Unconscious Perception [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2022. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 197–208. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2022120316. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Felix K. Svobodny, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Management and Psychology of Investigative Activity, Moscow Academy of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Nikita V. Lavreshkin, Psychologist, deviantologist, ORCID:, e-mail:



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