Importance of Expertise in Friction Ridge Examinations (03/14/23)


Webinar Date

Mar 14, 2023

Webinar Time

9am – 1pm PDT

Webinar Duration

4 hours

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Instructor: Alice White

What is an expert? Not in the legal sense, but in the cognitive sense. Why was it difficult to look at prints when you first started as a trainee, but now it is easier? Why are some types of distortion issues difficult to decipher, no matter how many years you have been looking at prints? How does your visual system, finely tuned over many years of looking at prints, behave differently than a novice’s? Why do you see and know things about a print that a novice cannot possibly see and know? Ultimately, why does your expertise matter when it comes to examining friction ridge impressions? And why does your expertise sometimes lead you to a different conclusion than your coworker’s expertise?

There are two reasons impressions of the friction ridge skin are a valuable means of identification 1) the features present in the friction ridge skin are highly discriminating and reasonably persistent and 2) trained examiners have expertise that increases their conclusion accuracy well above novices. This webinar addresses the science behind the development and limitations of visual expertise in examiners. Alice will cover basics of vision science and the data that demonstrates the types of visual expertise attained through training and experience. Know the friction ridge skin, but also “know thyself” [Temple of Delphi].

Learning Outcomes:

  1. The attendee will be able to list the key processes necessary to develop expertise.
  2. The attendee will be able to identify key differences between experts and novices
  3. The attendee will be able to describe automaticity and metacognition.
  4. The attendee will be able to identify aspects of the visual system that enhance the visual interpretation of friction ridge impressions.
  5. The attendee will be able to identify aspects of the visual system that impede the visual interpretation of friction ridge impressions.
  6. The attendee will be able to cite research that supports the use of configural processing by experts.
  7. The attendee will be able to cite research that supports enhanced comparison strategies by experts.
  8. The attendee will be able to cite research that demonstrates experts are more accurate than novices rendering conclusions.

Course Handout

Prior to the webinar (typically 1 – 2 days) you will receive an email link to a file or folder to download the handout and any relevant supplemental information. The main course handout can also be downloaded from the webinar platform at the time of the webinar.

Assessing Learning Outcomes (a.k.a. Quiz)

In order to verify these learning outcomes have been achieved, there is a 20-question quiz via SurveyMonkey at the end of each webinar. Attendees must score a minimum of 70% on the quiz in order to receive a training certificate for the webinar. Please note the quizzes are open-book and poll questions are given during the webinar to prepare attendees for the quiz.

Attendance Policy

This webinar may only be attended by the person who is registered for the webinar. Evolve Forensics does not permit broadcasting, watching, listening, or distributing the webinar or any of the webinar handouts to individuals who are not registered for this webinar.

Software Requirements: Attendees must be able to access GoToWebinar (webinar platform) and SurveyMonkey (quiz platform) in order to participate.

The following YouTube Video shows how to use GoToWebinar as an attendee:


Please contact Alice White via email at

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