scispace - formally typeset
Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA.2021.107809

Super-Recognizers - a novel diagnostic framework, 70 cases, and guidelines for future work.

02 Mar 2021-Neuropsychologia (Pergamon)-Vol. 158, pp 107809-107809
Abstract: When you hear the word Super-Recognizer, you may think of comic-book-hero-esque agents searching the underground to find people who went missing decades ago. Compared to this fantasy, the reality seems somewhat less exciting. Super-Recognizers (SRs) were initially reported a decade ago as a collateral while developing tests for developmental prosopagnosia. Today, the topic of SRs sparks interest from groups seeking to enhance scientific knowledge, public safety, or their monetary gain. With no immediate consequences of erroneous SR identification, there has been no pressure to establish a clear SR definition. This promotes heterogenous empirical evidence and the proliferation of unsupported claims in the media. Not only is this status quo unfortunate, it stands in opposition to the potential of special populations - both for science and application. SRs are a special population with imminent real-world value that can advance our understanding of brain functioning. To exploit their potential, I propose a needed formal framework for SR diagnosis, and introduce 70 cases identified based hereupon. These cases represent the core of a growing SR cohort, studied in my lab in the course of a long-term, multi-methodological research agenda involving academic and government collaborators. Finally, I provide recommendations for those interested in SR work, and highlight current caveats and future challenges.

... read more


6 results found

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA.2021.107805
Ben de Haas1Institutions (1)
16 Mar 2021-Neuropsychologia
Abstract: When Russel et al. first introduced the term ‘super-recogniser’ (SR), they observed that ‘super-recognizers are about as good as many developmental prosopagnosics are bad‘, with regard to both face perception and recognition (Russell et al., 2009). As Meike Ramon reports in her Viewpoint in this issue (Ramon, 2021), SRs have since been the focus of considerable media attention and some 25 papers. Still, the term lacks a uniform operational definition, risking the comparison of apples and oranges. Thus, Ramon proposes a clear rule for qualifying someone as SR, which is precise enough for standardisation but at the same time affords flexibility. She also makes a strong case for open research practices and documentation, underscored by her exemplary presentation of 70 cases.

... read more

22 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41598-021-92549-6
23 Jun 2021-Scientific Reports
Abstract: Facial identity matching ability varies widely, ranging from prosopagnosic individuals (who exhibit profound impairments in face cognition/processing) to so-called super-recognizers (SRs), possessing exceptional capacities. Yet, despite the often consequential nature of face matching decisions-such as identity verification in security critical settings-ability assessments tendentially rely on simple performance metrics on a handful of heterogeneously related subprocesses, or in some cases only a single measured subprocess. Unfortunately, methodologies of this ilk leave contributions of stimulus information to observed variations in ability largely un(der)specified. Moreover, they are inadequate for addressing the qualitative or quantitative nature of differences between SRs' abilities and those of the general population. Here, therefore, we sought to investigate individual differences-among SRs identified using a novel conservative diagnostic framework, and neurotypical controls-by systematically varying retinal availability, bandwidth, and orientation of faces' spatial frequency content in two face matching experiments. Psychophysical evaluations of these parameters' contributions to ability reveal that SRs more consistently exploit the same spatial frequency information, rather than suggesting qualitatively different profiles between control observers and SRs. These findings stress the importance of optimizing procedures for SR identification, for example by including measures quantifying the consistency of individuals' behavior.

... read more

Topics: Population (51%)

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1186/S41235-021-00317-X
Abstract: In the present study, we investigated whether police officers’ performance in searching for unfamiliar faces in a video-based real-world task is predicted by laboratory-based face processing tests that are typically used to assess individual differences in face processing abilities. Specifically, perceptual performance in the field was operationalized via the identification of target individuals in self-made close-circuit television (CCTV) video tapes. Police officers’ abilities in the laboratory were measured by the Cambridge Face Memory Test long form (CFMT+). We hypothesized that the CFMT+ predicts individual differences in the CCTV task performance. A total of N = 186 police officers of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Police participated in the study (i.e., N = 139 novice and advanced cadets with either 3 months, 15 months or 24 months of pre-service experience; N = 47 experienced police officers with three years of pre-service experience and at least two years of full-service experience, who participated in the assessment center of the special police forces, specifically the surveillance and technical unit). Results revealed that the CFMT+ explained variance in the CCTV task. In sample 1, CFMT+ scores predicted hits, but not false alarms. In contrast, in sample 2, CFMT+ scores were correlated with both hits and false alarms. From a theoretical perspective, we discuss factors that might explain CCTV task performance. From a practical perspective, we recommend that personnel selection processes investigating individual differences of police officers’ face processing abilities should comprise of two steps. At first, laboratory-based tests of face processing abilities should be applied. Subsequently, to validate laboratory-based individual differences in face processing abilities, we recommend that work samples such as CCTV tasks from the field should be added.

... read more

Topics: State police (54%)

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA.2021.107807
Bruno Rossion1Institutions (1)
30 Jul 2021-Neuropsychologia
Abstract: In her Viewpoint paper, Meike Ramon proposes a stringent operational definition to identify people who excel at face identity recognition, i.e., super face identity recognizers (SFIR). Based on difficulties at defining cases of prosopagnosia and prosopdysgnosia, I suggest adding exclusion criteria and emphasizing domain-specificity of SFIR's performance. In future work to characterize this special population, implicit electrophysiological measures obtained during fast periodic visual stimulation may be particularly valuable, providing valid, objective, sensitive, and reliable indexes of face identity recognition.

... read more


40 results found

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/NN.4135
Emily S. Finn1, Xilin Shen1, Dustin Scheinost1, Monica D. Rosenberg1  +4 moreInstitutions (1)
Abstract: This study shows that every individual has a unique pattern of functional connections between brain regions. This functional connectivity profile acts as a ‘fingerprint’ that can accurately identify the individual from a large group. Furthermore, an individual's connectivity profile can predict his or her level of fluid intelligence.

... read more

1,550 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/BRAIN/AWG241
01 Nov 2003-Brain
Abstract: Neuroimaging studies have identified at least two bilateral areas of the visual extrastriate cortex that respond more to pictures of faces than objects in normal human subjects in the middle fusiform gyrus [the 'fusiform face area' (FFA)] and, more posteriorly, in the inferior occipital cortex ['occipital face area' (OFA)], with a right hemisphere dominance. However, it is not yet clear how these regions interact which each other and whether they are all necessary for normal face perception. It has been proposed that the right hemisphere FFA acts as an isolated ('modular') processing system for faces or that this region receives its face-sensitive inputs from the OFA in a feedforward hierarchical model of face processing. To test these proposals, we report a detailed neuropsychological investigation combined with a neuroimaging study of a patient presenting a deficit restricted to face perception, consecutive to bilateral occipito-temporal lesions. Due to the asymmetry of the lesions, the left middle fusiform gyrus and the right inferior occipital cortex were damaged but the right middle fusiform gyrus was structurally intact. Using functional MRI, we disclosed a normal activation of the right FFA in response to faces in the patient despite the absence of any feedforward inputs from the right OFA, located in a damaged area of cortex. Together, these findings show that the integrity of the right OFA is necessary for normal face perception and suggest that the face-sensitive responses observed at this level in normal subjects may arise from feedback connections from the right FFA. In agreement with the current literature on the anatomical basis of prosopagnosia, it is suggested that the FFA and OFA in the right hemisphere and their re-entrant integration are necessary for normal face processing.

... read more

Topics: Fusiform face area (67%), Fusiform gyrus (65%), Face perception (60%) ... read more

603 Citations

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.COGNITION.2011.08.001
01 Dec 2011-Cognition
Abstract: Psychological studies of face recognition have typically ignored within-person variation in appearance, instead emphasising differences between individuals. Studies typically assume that a photograph adequately captures a person’s appearance, and for that reason most studies use just one, or a small number of photos per person. Here we show that photographs are not consistent indicators of facial appearance because they are blind to within-person variability. Crucially, this within-person variability is often very large compared to the differences between people. To investigate variability in photos of the same face, we collected images from the internet to sample a realistic range for each individual. In Experiments 1 and 2, unfamiliar viewers perceived images of the same person as being different individuals, while familiar viewers perfectly identified the same photos. In Experiment 3, multiple photographs of any individual formed a continuum of good to bad likeness, which was highly sensitive to familiarity. Finally, in Experiment 4, we found that within-person variability exceeded between-person variability in attractiveness. These observations are critical to our understanding of face processing, because they suggest that a key component of face processing has been ignored. As well as its theoretical significance, this scale of variability has important practical implications. For example, our findings suggest that face photographs are unsuitable as proof of identity.

... read more

Topics: Face perception (53%)

377 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEURON.2014.10.047
07 Jan 2015-Neuron
Abstract: Neuroimaging has greatly enhanced the cognitive neuroscience understanding of the human brain and its variation across individuals (neurodiversity) in both health and disease. Such progress has not yet, however, propelled changes in educational or medical practices that improve people's lives. We review neuroimaging findings in which initial brain measures (neuromarkers) are correlated with or predict future education, learning, and performance in children and adults; criminality; health-related behaviors; and responses to pharmacological or behavioral treatments. Neuromarkers often provide better predictions (neuroprognosis), alone or in combination with other measures, than traditional behavioral measures. With further advances in study designs and analyses, neuromarkers may offer opportunities to personalize educational and clinical practices that lead to better outcomes for people.

... read more

369 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3758/BRM.42.1.286
A. Mike Burton1, David White1, Allan McNeill2Institutions (2)
Abstract: We describe a new test for unfamiliar face matching, the Glasgow Face Matching Test (GFMT). Viewers are shown pairs of faces, photographed in full-face view but with different cameras, and are asked to make same/different judgments. The full version of the test comprises 168 face pairs, and we also describe a shortened version with 40 pairs. We provide normative data for these tests derived from large subject samples. We also describe associations between the GFMT and other tests of matching and memory. The new test correlates moderately with face memory but more strongly with object matching, a result that is consistent with previous research highlighting a link between object and face matching, specific to unfamiliar faces. The test is available free for scientific use.

... read more

Topics: Matching (statistics) (54%)

358 Citations

No. of citations received by the Paper in previous years
Network Information