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Image Of The Perfect Bond
By Roger Highfield
Psychologists reveal the secret face of Fleming's perfect James Bond
Eat your heart out Daniel Craig. The perfect James Bond looks more like Sean Connery, according to a computer reconstruction published by psychologists today.
To discover exactly how the author, Ian Fleming, envisaged his hero, Prof Rob Jenkins, of the University of Glasgow, and Prof Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, have employed a technique known as prototyping.
Most people are poor at describing a face that they have in their mind, but they can easily pick out photographs of faces that resemble the image they are thinking of.
Previous research has shown that blending together several pictures of a face creates an accurate image of that person.
Now the same technique has been used for the first time to create a photograph of a fictional character.
In 1961 Fleming listed several Hollywood actors that he thought had the right facial characteristics to play Bond.
Prof Jenkins tracked down images of these actors - Cary Grant, David Niven, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton and Stewart Granger - and used sophisticated software to blend them into a single composite.
"We have used face merging technology to create the image of Bond that Ian Fleming had in mind when he wrote his books," said Prof Wiseman
"The image shows a clean-cut, classic looking face which is far more Connery than Craig.'' He added: ''Perhaps this is another way of resolving the question of who is the best Bond."
Prof Jenkins said: "The image allows us to turn back the hands of time, go inside Fleming's head and see how he envisioned Bond when he was writing his novels."
The same technique has applications for increasing the accuracy of witness testimony in crime investigations.
It could even be used by online dating websites to help people identify the types of face that they find most attractive.
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