Super-Recognisers in Action: Evidence from Face-matching and Face Memory Tasks



Bobak AK, Hancock PJB & Bate S (2016) Super-Recognisers in Action: Evidence from Face-matching and Face Memory Tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30 (1), pp. 81-91.

Individuals employed in forensic or security settings are often required to compare faces of ID holders to document photographs, or to recognize the faces of suspects in Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage. It has long been established that both tasks produce a high error rate amongst typical perceivers. This study sought to determine the performance of individuals with exceptionally good face memory ("super-recognizers") on applied facial identity matching and memory tasks. In Experiment 1, super-recognizers were significantly better than controls when matching target faces to simultaneously presented line-ups. In Experiment 2, super-recognizers were also better at remembering faces from high quality video stills. These findings suggest that super-recognizers are more accurate at face matching and face memory tasks than typical perceivers, and they could be valuable expert employees in national security and forensic settings.

Super-recognizers; face matching; face recognition; national security; unfamiliar faces; human performance

Applied Cognitive Psychology: Volume 30, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2016
Publication date online20/10/2015
Date accepted by journal17/08/2015

People (2)


Dr Anna Bobak

Dr Anna Bobak

Senior Lecturer, Psychology

Professor Peter Hancock

Professor Peter Hancock

Professor, Psychology