Individual Differences in Face Identification: A Causal Rela | 46462

Clinical and Experimental Psychology


Individual Differences in Face Identification: A Causal Relationship with Anxiety?

Ahmed M Megreya

Face identification has become one of the most popular topics in psychology, encompassing the cognitive, forensic, neuroscience, developmental, and social divisions. Most of this research, however, treats face identification as though all observers are equivalent, by studying the “average” human observer [1], ignoring the substantial individual differences that exist in the ability to process faces [2,3]. For example, using a simple face-matching task, in which observers have to decide if pairs of unknown faces depict the same person or two different people, individual performance ranges along a broad continuum from close-to-chance to perfect [4-8]. In addition, studies of recognition memory for unfamiliar faces reveal a similar distribution of ability, with individual d’ scores ranging from 0.5 to 6.8 for old/new decisions to previously seen faces [9]. Understanding these individual differences is crucial for improving face identification and for enhancing security. Importantly, however, rather little is still known about their underlying causes