Accepted Paper:

Exploring cognitive bias when texturing a facial depiction of King Robert the Bruce  
Mark Roughley (Liverpool John Moores University)Caroline Wilkinson (Liverpool John Moores University)Sarah Shrimpton Ralph Moffat (Glasgow Museums)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the decisions made during the process of adding photorealistic textures to a facial reconstruction of Robert the Bruce, 1st King of Scotland that would depict his most likely facial appearance, based upon interpretation of a skull cast and historical data.

Paper long abstract:

In 2016, Face Lab at LJMU and the University of Glasgow revealed a facial depiction of Robert the Bruce, 1st King of Scotland. Robert the Bruce is a key historical figure and his appearance is a significant issue for historians, especially the likelihood of leprosy, as there are no contemporary portraits or written descriptions of his facial appearance.

This paper explores the decisions made during the process of adding photorealistic textures to the facial reconstruction that would depict his most likely facial appearance, based upon interpretation of a skull cast and historical data.

Decisions about hair and eye colour, clothing and armour and the presentation of mild leprosy were made based upon knowledge of the historical figure. How did cognitive bias influence the decisions made during the texturing process? How did the interpretation of historical information concerning Robert the Bruce, specifically relating to hair and eye colour, impact on the final image? Multiple versions of the facial depiction were produced; with/without leprosy and with/without armour, to enable the final images to present the most likely appearance of Robert the Bruce, and what did we learn about cognitive bias during this process?

The release of a facial depiction leads to global cultural enrichment, especially in relation to Scottish medieval history, as a facial depiction has the power to change the way we see this King. This paper discusses the ethical challenges faced when depicting the face of a king.

Panel P080
Depiction of the Dead: ethical challenges and cognitive bias