The consistency of superior face recognition skills in police officers

Bate, Sarah, Frowd, Charlie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5082-1259, Bennetts, Rachel, Hasshim, Nabil, Portch, Emma, Murray, Ebony and Dudfield, Gavin (2019) The consistency of superior face recognition skills in police officers. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33 (5). pp. 828-842. ISSN 0888-4080

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In recent years there has been increasing interest in people with superior face recognition skills. Yet, identification of these individuals has mostly relied on criterion performance on a single attempt at a single measure of face memory. The current investigation aimed to examine the consistency of superior face recognition skills in 30 police officers, both across tests that tap into the same process, and between tests that tap into different components of face‐processing. Overall indices of performance across related measures were found to identify different superior performers to isolated test scores. Further, different top‐performers emerged for target‐present versus target‐absent indices, suggesting that signal detection measures are the most useful indicators of performance. Finally, a dissociation was observed between superior memory and matching performance. Super‐recognizer screening programmes should therefore include overall indices summarising multiple attempts at related tests, allowing for individuals to rank highly on different (and sometimes very specific) tasks.

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