Josh Davis

Dr Josh Davis BSc Hons, PGCertHE, MSc, PhD

Josh Davis

Dr Josh Davis
BSc Hons, PGCertHE, MSc, PhD

Reader, Psychology

Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling

Faculty of Education & Health

Dr Josh Davis is a Reader for Psychology in the Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling at the University of Greenwich.

Josh joined the university in 2008 and is course coordinator for Criminal Investigation Psychology (Level 7), Social Forensic Psychology (Level 6), and Investigative Forensic Psychology (Level 6). He is also link tutor for Psychology on the MSc and BSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology programmes and supervises PhD, MSc and undergraduate research projects.

His PhD was on 'Forensic Identification of Unfamiliar Faces in CCTV Images' (2007) and he has published research on human face recognition and eyewitness identification; reliability of facial composite systems (e.g. E-FIT, EFIT-V); and methods used by expert witnesses to provide evidence of identification in court.

Josh has presented his research worldwide, with latest research on "super-recognisers", attracting international media interest including television appearances on the BBC, ITV and other worldwide stations.

He works closely with London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as part of the European Commission funded LASIE (2014) consortium, with the primary aim of ensuring that police forces can identify and optimally deploy officers possessing super-recognition ability. He has also acted as a consultant to other police forces and for business (e.g. Yoti) on identification verification issues.

In 2012, he was awarded a University of Greenwich Early Career Research Excellence Award, as well as a University of Greenwich Early Career Research Communicator Award (runner-up). In 2016, he was shortlisted for a Students' Union: University of Greenwich Student-Led 'Extra Mile' Teaching Award.

Posts held previously:

  • 2008-16, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling, University of Greenwich
  • 2006-08, Postdoctoral Research Officer, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London (funded by Nuffield Foundation)
  • 2005-06, Postdoctoral Research Officer, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London (funded by ESPRC)
  • 2001-08, Visiting Tutor (p/t), Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London 
  • 1999-2004, Visiting Lecturer (p/t), Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London 
  • 1999-2000, President, Students' Union, Royal Holloway, University of London (elected sabbatical position)
  • Reader, Psychology, Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
  • Course coordinator for Criminal Investigation Psychology (Level 7), Social Forensic Psychology (Level 6), and Investigative Forensic Psychology (Level 6)
  • Link tutor
  • Supervises BSc/MSc/PhD research projects
  • Member of the European Association of Psychology and Law
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Joint Instigator: South East Eyewitness Network
  • Journal Peer Reviewer: Applied Cognitive Psychology; Ergonomics; Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied; Memory & Cognition; PLOS ONE; Psychological Research; Psychology, Crime and Law; Science & Justice; Journal of Forensic Practice; Perception; Physiology & Behavior; Cortex, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review; Legal and Criminological Psychology
  • Research Council Peer Reviewer: ESRC
  • External Examiner:PhD, MSc by Research

Josh's primary research interests are in cognitive and investigative forensic psychology, in particular face, voice and person recognition and applied legal implications.

Recent research examines the cognitive abilities of Metropolitan Police Service officers who have made a large number of identifications of suspects from CCTV images –"super-recognisers" and also consults business organisations on identity verification issues. Other recent work includes the use of E-FIT and EFIT-V facial composite systems for the identification of suspects.

Funded research projects

  • University of Greenwich, Seedling Fund: Development of a face database for future research and enterprise projects, 2016
  • University of Greenwich, Research Excellence Framework Funds 2015/16: Student drinking-cross-sectional investigation of drinking trajectory and risky behaviours in students across academic year groups, with Foster, J. and Thompson, S., 2015
  • Large Scale Information Exploitation of Forensic Data (LASIE project): European Commission 7th Framework Programme, 2014
  • University of Greenwich Vice Chancellor's Studentship PhD Award: Neuroscientific and cognitive forensic examination of individual differences in face recognition ability, with Thompson, T. and Monks, C., 2014
  • University of Greenwich: Evaluating and enhancing the eyewitness identification performance of older adults, with Jolliffe, D., 2014
  • University of Greenwich: Theoretical and applied markers to measure holistic face recognition ability, 2011

Davis, J.P., Lander, K., Evans, R. and Jansari, A. (2016). Investigating predictors of superior face recognition ability in police super-recognisers. Applied Cognitive Psychology. (in press)

Davis, J.P., Thorniley, S., Gibson, S. and Solomon, C. (2016). Holistic facial composite construction and subsequent lineup identification accuracy: Comparing adults and children. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 150(1), pp. 102-118. 

Davis, J.P., Maigut, A.C., Jolliffe, D., Gibson, S. and Solomon, C. (2015). Holistic facial composite creation and subsequent video line-up eyewitness identification paradigm. Journal of Visualized Experiments [online], issue 106. 

Valentine, T. and Davis, J.P. (2015). Forensic Facial Identification: Theory and Practice of Identification from Eyewitnesses, Composites and CCTV. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Valentine, T. and Davis, J.P. (2015). Forensic facial identification: A practical guide to best practice. In: T. Valentine, and J.P. Davis, eds., Forensic Facial Identification: Theory and Practice of Identification from Eyewitnesses, Composites and CCTV. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 323-347.

Davis, J.P. and Valentine, T. (2015). Human verification of identity from photographic images. In: T. Valentine, T and J.P. Davis, eds., Forensic Facial Identification: Theory and Practice of Identification from Eyewitnesses, Composites and CCTV. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 211-238.

Valentine, T. and Davis, J.P. (2015). Eyewitness identification and surveillance of facial images: progress and problems. In: T. Valentine and J.P. Davis, eds., Forensic Facial Identification: Theory and Practice of Identification from Eyewitnesses, Composites and CCTV. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 3-14.

Edmonds, G., Davis, J.P. and Valentine, T. (2015). Expert analysis: Facial image comparison. In: T. Valentine and J.P. Davis, eds., Forensic Facial Identification: Theory and Practice of Identification from Eyewitnesses, Composites and CCTV. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 239-262.

Davis, J.P., Thorniley, S., Gibson, S. and Solomon, C. (2015). Holistic facial composite construction and subsequent lineup identification accuracy: Comparing adults and children. Journal of Psychology, 150(1), pp. 102-118.

Davis, J.P., Simmons, S., Sulley, L., Solomon, C.J. and Gibson, S.J. (2015). An evaluation of post-production facial composite enhancement techniques. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17(4), pp. 307-318.

Davis, J.P., Gibson, S. & Solomon, C. (2014). The positive influence of creating a holistic facial composite on video lineup identification. Applied Cognitive Psychology, pp. 28, 634–639.

Roberts, A.J., Davis, J.P., Valentine, T. & Memon, A. (2014). Should we worry about street identifications? Criminal Law Review, 9, pp. 633-653.

Davis, J.P., Lander, K. & Jansari, A. (2013). I never forget a face. The Psychologist, 26(10), pp. 726-729. 

Davis, J.P. (2012). Image Comparison, Facial, Photographic. In: A. Jamiesson, and A. Moenssens, eds., Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. Wiley: UK. 

Valentine, T., Davis, J.P., Memon, A. and Roberts, A. (2012). Showups and their influence on a subsequent video lineup. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(1), pp. 1-23.

Davis, J.P., Valentine, T. and Wilkinson, C. (2012). Facial Image Comparison. In: C. Wilkinson, and C. Rynn, eds., Craniofacial Identification. Cambridge University Press.

Browse our publications database

Davis, J.P., Forrest, C., Maigut, A., KamiƄska, K. and Jansari, A. (2016). Individual differences in upright and inverted face recognition, simultaneous face matching and object recognition ability throughout the adult lifespan. British Psychological Society: Annual Conference, East Midlands Conference Centre, 27 April, Nottingham: UK.


Davis, J.P. (2015). The empirical examination of superior face recognisers. Keynote speech presented at IEEE International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal-based Surveillance (AVSS), 25-28 August, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Germany.


Davis, J.P. (2015). The influence of clothing change on solo and group street identifications. Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC), 24-27 June, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Davis, J.P. (2014). The 'Brady Bunch' lineup: Comparing video and photographic simultaneous and sequential lineups. European Association of Psychology & Law., 24-27 June, St Petersburg, Russia.

Davis, J.P. (2013). Super-Recognisers in the Police. 5th International Conference on Imaging for Crime Prevention and Detection (ICDP 2013), 16-17 December, Kingston University, London. 

Davis, J.P. (2012). Super-Recognition and Prosopagnosia: The Extremes of Face Recognition Ability? International Workshop on Image Processing and Inverse Problems, December, Fuzhou University, China.

Davis, J.P. (2012). Facial Identification from CCTV: A cognitive examination of police officer 'super-recognisers'. The British Psychological Society (BPS): Cognitive Section Conference. September, Glasgow, Scotland.

Davis, J.P. (2012). Facial Identification from CCTV: Investigating predictors of exceptional performance amongst police officers. European Association of Psychology & Law, 10-13 April, Cyprus.

Davis, J.P. (2011). Comparing individual and morphed facial composites constructed using E-FIT and EFIT-V. British Psychological Society Annual Conference. May, Glasgow.

Davis, J.P. (2011). Comparing individual and morphed facial composites constructed using feature-based and holistic systems. American Psychology-Law Society Annual Meeting, 4th International Congress of Psychology and Law, 2-5 March, Miami, Florida, USA.

Browse our publications database