Conventional Photos Don't Aid The Search for a Missing Child!
ScienceDaily — People's ability to recognize abducted children is impaired when they view a photo of a smiling, clean child, but come into contact with the same child whose appearance is very different because he or she is upset, crying, disheveled or unkempt.
Two experiments were conducted to test the ability of adults to recognize children from photos. Over 150 adults were shown pictures of children that were either "cleaned up" as they would typically appear, in school photos, happy and clean, as well as a "dirtied up" picture, where the child looked dirty, tired, sad or angry. Results from the study show that recognition is best when the original appearance of the child matched the appearance when memory is later tested.
"If your child is abducted you need to supply law enforcement with a recent photo of your child, preferably not a school photo, but one taken around the house at play. One taken in their natural state, the way you normally see them on a daily basis".