Super-recognisers are people who perform face recognition and face matching tests with very high levels of accuracy. We review the small literature currently available on super-recognisers and provide a summary of the key findings. Based on what is currently known, we argue that super-recognisers are best understood as the top performers sampled from a distribution of normal facial-recognition skills, rather than as a distinct population of people with ‘superior recognition capacity.’ This conclusion is based on findings that while super-recognisers as a group outperform controls on tasks of face processing, this is not true at an individual level. Individual ‘super-recognisers’ do not consistently exceed the expected performance range for normal face recognition skills. Moreover, their performance is not always consistent across related face processing tasks. Given this perspective on super-recognisers, we list open issues that should be addressed in future research. From an applied perspective, we argue that jobs that require accurate face identification skills, (e.g., law enforcement), should be filled by people with the best skills for the job. Given the limited consistency of super-recogniser performance across tasks, this may require tests that are focussed on the specific face processing skills needed for the success at a particular job. In this sense, super-recognisers should be considered ‘skilled labour’ for professional face recognition jobs and should be pre-tested as is done for professionals of all sorts (e.g., athletes, engineers).
|Title of host publication||Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences|
|Editors||Markus Bindemann, Ahmed M. Megreya|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers Inc|
|Number of pages||29|
|ISBN (Print)||9781536124316, 9781536123982|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2017|
|Name||Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences|
Bindemann, M. (Ed.), Megreya, A. M. (Ed.), Noyes, E., Phillips, P. J., & O’Toole, A. J. (2017). What is a super-recogniser? In M. Bindemann, & A. M. Megreya (Eds.), Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences (pp. 173-201). (Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences). Nova Science Publishers Inc.