Psychotherapy Services in South West London

Special Cognitive Abilities: The Super Face Recognisers

Newborn infants prefer looking at schematic face shapes over jumbled images and appear able to distinguish their mother from other women after two days. We are design to recognise faces from the time we are born however not everyone is a good face recogniser. Some people are better than average at recognising faces. In 2009 Richard Russell in his post doctoral research at Harvard University compared people possessing superior face recognition ability with standardised un-familiar face processing and memory test and a familiar face recognition test. The super recognisers performed above the population mean however their enhanced abilities are not associated with general visual memory. The best face recognisers appear to employ holistic face processing to a greater extent than those who are worse at face recognition. Very little is currently known about the super recognisers however there are many applications for which their unique skills may be suitable. The most obvious would be in surveillance or security roles such as passport officers. We will leave you to consider whether being a super recogniser, regardless of your occupation, would be a blessing or a curse.

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