Graham Pike

Graham Pike

Graham is a psychologist & Professor of Forensic Cognition at the OU, with an interest in applied cognition, particularly how psychological knowledge can be used to obtain evidence from eyewitnesses

Location Open University


  • Graham Pike made a comment

    " i don’t dream in languages

    only in prophecies

    & whale songs"
    from Conversation with Immigration Officer by Ae Hee Lee

  • I chose 'horizon', not because it was from any poems I like but more because I always feel a need to look at the horizon after reading poetry

  • HI Synthia - I'm very flattered indeed! Really good attempt as well Synthia.

  • Hi Sue and many thanks for the message. Very glad you are liking the course and please do say hello to Sharon for me - small world indeed! Best, Graham

  • Think you’re good at face recognition? Think again! Join us tomorrow (Thursday 21 April) from 12.30-2.30pm for a live chat with Dr Hayley Ness and Dr Ailsa Strathie, who look at the limitations of the human brain in recognising and recalling faces that can make it very difficult for the police to get a good description of a suspect. Hayley and Ailsa examine...

  • Hi Ana - remember that the live events are FaceBook chat sessions, so are text based not video. You should be able to find the session through the link above - sometimes you have to click on the 'discussion' tab depending on where FaceBook takes you.

  • Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the great comments about interviewing - some really good points about how bad interviewing style can lead to false memories.

    We have been looking at interviewing witnesses, but obviously interviewing suspects is also a critical part of an investigation. This Thursday (April 14th) between 12:30 and 14:30 (BST) you can join a...

  • Hi Lyn - our tech people have looked into this and it is a problem with FaceBook, which doesn't like you navigating around without logging in. The solution is not to just click on the discussion tab, but instead right click on it and open it in a new tab or window - that gets around the problem. Don't ask my why! ;-)

    Hope this helps,

  • Hi Lyn, I've checked with our FaceBook team who say the site is completely public, including the events. They have tried accessing the event without an FB account and don't have a problem. However, when I tried, like you I was unable to access the event without logging in - so it appears to be a gremlin with FaceBook itself. We are continuing to explore the...

  • Sorry about that Lyn - I was told you didn't need an FB account. Will look into it and try and find another way of sharing the discussion.

  • Hi Nicholas, you can still see the discussion even if you do not have a FaceBook account, just won't be able to post. If you have any trouble, or would like me to pass on a question for Dr Briggs, just email me at

  • Hi everyone, if you would like to explore the fascinating world of visual attention further, join us tomorrow (Thursday 07 April) from 12.30-2.30pm for a live chat with psychological researcher Dr Gemma Briggs, and learn how our brains can entirely miss things happening right in front of our faces... even a man in a gorilla suit! Gemma will explore the...

  • Hi Lesley and Candice,
    The link is;

  • Hi everyone. This Thursday (March 31st) from 12:30-14:30 we are running a live FaceBook chat event with award winning crime novelist Lin Anderson. Lin is the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series and co-founder of the ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. She will be exploring the role of forensic psychology in fiction, as well as the...

  • Hi everyone and thanks for all your insightful comments - they have made for very interesting reading!

    If you would like to find out more about forensic psychology, you can explore related content on OpenLearn (the OU’s home of free learning) where you’ll find valuable resources to prepare you for this course. Visit the Forensic Psychology area on OpenLearn...

  • Hi Jane,

    You may also be interested in our FaceBook event on 31st March, which is a chance to meet award winning crime novelist Lin Anderson, creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series and co-founder of the ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival, who will explore the role of forensic psychology in fiction, as well as the facts and fiction of...

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    Hi everyone and welcome to the course!

    Are you interested in a career as a forensic psychologist or in psychology more generally?

    If so, join us for a live FaceBook chat event this Thursday at 12:30 at:



  • Glad the links are proving useful - you can also participate in related research by following this link:

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    Many thanks for all your kind comments - and we're so glad you enjoyed the course!

    Do remember that you can still explore related content on OpenLearn (the OU’s home of free learning) where you’ll find valuable resources related to psychology. Just visit the Forensic Psychology area on OpenLearn:

  • Your comments show evidence of true super-sleuthing - and some real insights into the psychology of investigations.

    You may have noticed that you should be able to access week 8 now, ahead of schedule - so do have a look if you'd like. Also remember that you can find out more about forensic psychology at the OU...

  • Well done Nina, you saw through the smoke and mirrors to the heart of the conspiracy - Bullet staged the crime as revenge on an old adversary! I imagine he is sitting, stroking a white cat and saying MWAH HA HA HA even now.

    Joking aside, it is a perceptive point you make. The reason we couldn't use testimony from either Liz or the guards is that they were...

  • Hi Marc,
    Without seeing the letter it is hard to know exactly what the position is and I don't want to give conflicting advice - but it could be that Sara was talking about our old Masters programme, which closed recently. As Laura says, we hope to launch a new MSc programme in the Autumn of 2016 - which will include courses in psychology, forensic psychology...

  • FANTASTIC live event with Catriona yesterday. To see the discussion, go to:

  • ID parades provide an interesting insight into psychology. To find out more, join Dr Catriona Havard tomorrow, Thursday22nd Oct, between 12:30 and 14:30 (BST) for a live FaceBook chat at:

  • Actually, one of the best pieces of research I saw was in the Netherlands, where ID parades were conducted by showing an item from a crime scene to a dog, who then sniffed the people in the line up and picked out the perpetrator by matching their smell to the item! It had a phenomenal success rate, far, far exceeding human ID.

  • Hi Graham, yes other research has been done on different types of celebrities - particularly footballers, which are good to use because it is easy to find people who do not know them (to use to construct the images) and other people that know them well (who can then be used to recognise them). Our original famous EFIT study did actually use politicians,...

  • At 12:30 today (in 40 minutes!) you can join world leading researcher Dr Hayley Ness in a FaceBook chat event - see:

  • Hi everyone,
    Some really great descriptions - and I think you can see how tricky this is!
    We've looked at the crime of robbery on this course, but crime can take many other forms. To find out more about corporate crime and the recent VW scandal, visit our free, online research site at:

  • Hi Elina, it's a text-based chat using FaceBook. But it will be visible after the event has finished.

  • If you enjoyed Photofit Me, then you can find out more about using composites in real cases by joining our live FaceBook discussion, where you can chat with Dr Hayley Ness, a world leading researcher who has worked on developing facial composite (e.g. EFIT) systems.
    The event takes place this Thursday (15th) between 12:30 and 2:30...

  • If you are interested in face recognition, then you can find out more by joining our live FaceBook discussion, where you can chat with Dr Hayley Ness, a world leading researcher who has worked on developing facial composite (e.g. EFIT) systems.
    The event takes place this Thursday (15th) between 12:30 and 2:30 at:

  • if you have finished this week and would like to look at other relevant material, remember you can visit our free OpenLearn site at:
    and also the OU Criminology website at:

  • Hi everyone,
    We've got two more live Facebook chat events coming up. First off is a chance to meet and question Dr Hayley Ness, a world leading researcher who has worked on developing facial composite (e.g. EFIT) systems that we will be exploring next week. You can find the event here:

  • Let me know how you get on and, if you still have problems, what goes wrong.

  • A lot of you seemed to have been 'lured' into remembering words that weren't there. If you would like to take part in 'live' research projects at the Open University, visit the following page:

  • This task is much harder than you think it seems! It has proven very useful in revealing how our minds work (or don't work!). You can find out more about inattentional blindness and psychology in general on our OpenLearn site - there is a page just for this course at:

  • Sorry you had problems Kitty - you don't need to be on a course to do the Brainstretcher activity. It works fine on my PC; were you using an apple device?

  • If you would like to read an article written by Dr Havard, you can visit the following website:

    That contains work from Catriona on witness memory as well as articles on broad array of issues in criminology

  • Remember that you can explore content related to this course on OpenLearn (the OU’s home for free, online learning). Just visit the Forensic Psychology area on OpenLearn:

  • sorry to hear you are having problems Ziporah. If they continue do get in contact with FutureLearn to see if they can help - you can do this by clicking on the question mark to the bottom right of the window.

  • Hi Mandy, you will find some (amateur) crime fiction is part of this course as we follow two fictional investigations. To find out a bit more about this, you can read an article I wrote about the...

  • Many of you participated in the chat session on Thursday with leading crime novelist Lin Anderson. Lin emailed me after the session to say how much she enjoyed it and how interesting she found your questions - she liked it so much she wants to do it again on our next course! If anyone would like to see the discussion, you can find it...

  • Hi everyone. Very glad you enjoyed this week!

  • Hi Daniel,

    The best starting place for studying forensic psychology at masters level is the website of The British Psychological Society, see:

    and the following for a list of masters...

  • Yes Simone - its a text based chat, so the text should still be viewable later.

  • Some great comments and insights! If you would like to participate in relevant research being conducted at the Open University, visit the following link:

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    At several points in the course we run discussion sessions on FaceBook. This Thursday between 12 and 2 you will have the chance to talk to Lin Anderson, the award winning author of the 'Rhona Macleod' series of crime thrillers (a major TV series is in development) and one of the founders of the 'Bloody Scotland' crime writing festival. As well as crime...

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    Hello everyone and welcome to the course! Myself, and facilitators Laura, Jacky, Ann and Claire are looking forward to meeting you and reading your comments as the course progresses. :-)

  • If you are interested in participating in research on police ethics, please follow this link to an online survey:

  • Many thanks for your feedback 'Ja B' and very glad you liked the course.

    We did cover both 'adversarial' (UK and US) and 'inquisitorial' (many European countries) legal systems, and hope we did not describe UK procedures as the latter anywhere - as that would indeed be a mistake. I'll have a look to see if I can find where we might have done this, but if...

  • Many thanks Paula - an interesting point about the OU! I've not heard that before, and not sure the OU would have been foremost in their minds when raising fees - which came from the Browne review, which included elements that many at the OU received positively at the time. For me, the key point was made by David Mitchell who said that whatever the politics,...

  • Thanks for all your comments and feedback. We've just published the latest article in our online series, which looks at the rise of poverty in the UK and it's links with crime. See:

  • Hi Avril,
    They weren't all middle-aged - we had younger and older people too (just the best examples tended to be middle aged I think). We used Caucasian men because at the time of the study the E-FIT feature databases available for women and non-Caucasian ethnicities were not sufficiently developed and would have been too much of a limiting factor.


  • Hi everyone, just a reminder that our course page on OpenLearn changes each week to link to other free, online material relevant to the topics we are covering. See:

  • To find out how psychologists are trying to improve ID parades, why not join world leading research Dr Catriona Havard on FaceBook today between 12:30 and 2:30:

  • Between 12:30pm and 2:30pm today (UK time), join Dr Catriona Havard to discuss whether children make poorer witnesses than adults and explore the techniques that researchers have developed to help obtain eyewitness evidence from children.
    The discussion takes place today, Tuesday 21 April, via The Open University’s Faculty of Social Sciences Facebook...

  • I can't find a (free) online version either I'm afraid, otherwise I'd post the link - but as you say, you don't want to spend your life following everything up! ;-)

  • Hi Vivienne, I can't remember the sample size (though there was certainly sufficient statistical power) , but performance was actually very high given that participants were simply asked to name an EFIT. Prior to this study, the techniques used to evaluate images included asking participants to just rate the image or pick a name from a selection of, say, 5 or...

  • Hi Charles,
    Just checked, and you don't need an FB account to see the chat event. If you follow this link:

    you can see all the comments that were posted.

  • Hi Charles - I'll check, but don't think you need to have an FB account to see the event (only to post). It was text-based, so the 'recording' is simply the comments and replies that were posted. TBH they are too lengthy to post up to the course, but I'll see if there is someway of linking to them for you.

  • A few people have asked about these and I wanted to repeat that the FaceBook live chat sessions (including the one today with Hayley Ness) are text-based - not video or audio. You just post up your questions and thoughts like you would FB comments and Hayley will answer them.

  • A few people have asked about these and I wanted to repeat that the FaceBook live chat sessions (including the one today with Hayley Ness) are text-based - not video or audio. You just post up your questions and thoughts like you would FB comments and Hayley will answer them.

  • Many thanks Paula - very kind of you.

  • Ooops - sorry Snezana. A combination of dyslexia and the very powerful phenomenon of seeing what you expect to see! Lucky I wasn't identifying you! ;-)

  • I know what you mean Alastair. I think there is an additional problem with the latest composite images, such as EFIT-V, in that they will never be anything like a perfect match for the real face, but look like a photo so you expect them to be a perfect match. With the old low res, black and white systems, the images didn't look real so I think people only...

  • Yes Suzanne... I hope Dame Judy never sees this video!! :-)

  • Good point Robin - and yes, we did consider that. We found 9 to be the optimum number, though another system does use 16. We also explored using visual prompts for young children, and there we definitely found fewer (4 or 5) to be better.

  • Sandra is right I think that the witness is always going to be the limiting factor. Research has shown that artists 'can' be better than computer systems, but the problem is that they have to be both highly trained and particularly highly skilled, and finding sufficient numbers of artists is therefore just not possible. Interestingly, one of the first pieces...

  • Great analogy Brian - and one I'm definitely going to steal! :-)

  • We'll be returning to the police investigation next week - and some of you have already questioned the behaviour of DI Bullet. If you'd like to read more about police ethics and behaviour, we've just posted an article on 'Dirty hands and Dirty Harry' on our research centre's site. See:

  • Some really great (and not so great!) Photofit Me images being created! Remember you can share them on Twitter using #FLForensic15

  • If you are enjoying learning about face recognition, who not join Dr Hayley Ness (a world leading researcher on face perception and facial composite construction) this Thursday at 2:30, when she will be hosting a discussion session on FaceBook - just post up your questions/ideas and she will answer. The event will be...

  • Live events coming soon!!
    In Weeks 5 and 6 of the course you’ll have two opportunities to ask questions and discuss your ideas with leading researchers in eyewitness memory via Facebook.
    On Thursday 16 April between 12:30 and 14:30 BST you can talk to Dr Hayley Ness about the psychology of face perception, creating facial composites and how we can be so good...

  • Hi everyone - some really good points about juries and what they would find convincing.

    Remember you can find out more about psychology by visiting our OpenLearn site:

  • Hi Elena,

    It is leading if the witness has not previously mentioned that the people were all men, as it suggests that they were.

  • A few people asked about the creation of the investigation and the two detectives. To read about this, visit the following link:

  • The activities this week are designed to demonstrate certain aspects of how the mind works. We also have a free App you can download to explore this area further:

  • Hi everyone and welcome to Week 3. We've got some great activities this week. As some are a demonstration of how your mind works, do try the activity before reading the associated comments, as they might give the game away and ruin the activity for you!

  • Many thanks to you all for posting so many interesting comments - some really thought provoking stuff.

    Next up is Week 3, which is one of my favourites as it has some classic psychology demonstrations that really make you think about how your mind works!

  • Yes, I guess Sara Lund = Lara Sund was fairly obvious... but I'm a huge Sofie Grabol fan so had to include the homage!

    Jake Bullet was the name used by a TV detective - but is is an exceptionally obscure and nerdy reference. You will notice that Philip Glenister does the voice over for some of the video clips - so Gene Hunt had to be a key reference point...

  • DS Sund and DI Bullet were loosely based on fictional detectives - but can you guess which ones?

  • If you fancy finding out more about forensic psychology and witnesses, remember the free OpenLearn site dedicated to this course:

  • You're spotting many of the problems with DI Bullet, but don't you think his style is how detectives are usually portrayed in crime dramas?

  • Hi Philip - the difference could be down to a difference in opinion... wouldn't do for academics to agree with each other! ;-)
    Actually the reaction to the research I posted in the previous link was very interesting - many psychologists found it to be powerful evidence, but I think it is fair to say that many in the world of fingerprint experts were far less...

  • Hi everyone,
    Just a reminder that you can access lots of additional free online material through OpenLearn, The Open University's free learning website. We've created a page just for people on this course at:

  • Thanks to all of you who posted comments this week, we really enjoyed reading them and discussing miscarriages of justice with you. Week 2 will open tomorrow, but you will still have access to Week 1 and still be able to comment, although myself, Laura, Jacky, Ann and Claire will be focused on working in the Week 2 discussions. See you there!

  • Hi everyone. A few people have asked about degree and other courses related to this course. If you're interested, have a look at:
    BSc Forensic Psychology -
    BSc Psychology and Law -
    BSc Criminology and Psychology -...

  • Good point Philip, but although computers do play a role (often just in storing and displaying the images) most of the time the decision is still made by a human. Have a look at the following for some really excellent psychological research:

  • Really enjoying reading your comments - some fantastic points being made. For those of you on Twitter, our course has its own hashtag that you can use if you want to tweet anything:

    You can also follow both myself:

    and the OU free learning account:

  • Another good point Kathy. Unfortunately there are cases where VERY dodgy eyewitness evidence has led to executions. I was involved in the petition to stay the execution of Troy Davis - which was a shocking case with a very unhappy ending. See:

  • You're quite right Kathy - the stats concerning the prison population in the US are shocking. I think I'm right in saying that the US now imprisons more people than in the Stalinist era in the USSR. The rate in the UK is a lot lower, but unfortunately the UK is still much higher than many other comparable countries (Germany, France etc.)

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    Hi everyone, all here at the OU are very social people, including embracing social media. We have an active and vibrant FaceBook site that contains lots of interesting material and discussions on topics in the Social Sciences. Just visit:

    Each week a different OU academic hosts a (text-based)...

  • Jovan makes some interesting points - his own research is on conspiracy theories, and equally fascinating. If you'd like to learn more about psychology, including Jovan's work on conspiracy, you can visit OpenLearn, the OU's entirely open and free website. We have created a page for people studying this course which includes links to related material. Just go...

  • A really good point Engels - this is an issue we are currently exploring through a couple of research projects. Later on in the course I hope to be able to send a link round in case anyone would like to participate in this research (and test your knowledge of CSI techniques!)

  • If you fancy reading more about psychology, miscarriages of justice and The Innocence Project, here is a link to an online article I wrote with OU colleagues Helen Kaye and Deb Drake:

    It references the work...

  • Hi everyone, some really great points have been made here. If you fancy reading a bit more on some of the psychology behind eyewitness issues, you can visit the OU Criminology blog - our latest article is on visual attention and eyewitness evidence:

  • Graham Pike made a comment

    Hi everyone and a very warm welcome to the course! Over the next 8 weeks myself and colleagues Laura Rayment, Ann Henry, Claire Colman and Jacky Blanchard will be joining you to discuss the fascinating topic of eyewitness psychology. You can spot our team as we have (facilitator) or (lead educator) after our names. Hope you enjoy the course as much as us!

  • Good spot Maria! Though afraid I definitely cannot agree with you about the American remake - Sofie Grabol and the Danish original are easily the best IMO

  • Hi Laura,
    The references are to academic articles (e.g. by Scheck, Neufeld and Dwyer) rather than to 'cases', which is why they are written in a different format. Hope that helps.