Individual differences in face identity processing

Jennifer M. McCaffery, David J. Robertson, Andrew W. Young, A. Mike Burton

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62 Citations (Scopus)
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We investigated the relationships between individual differences in different aspects of face-identity processing,using the Glasgow Face Matching Test (GFMT) as a measure of unfamiliar face perception, the Cambridge FaceMemory Test (CFMT) as a measure of new face learning, and the Before They Were Famous task (BTWF) as ameasure of familiar face recognition. These measures were integrated into two separate studies examining therelationship between face processing and other tasks. For Study 1 we gathered participants’subjective ratings oftheir own face perception abilities. In Study 2 we used additional measures of perceptual and cognitive abilities,and personality factors to place individual differences in a broader context.Performance was significantly correlated across the three face-identity tasks in both studies, suggesting somedegree of commonality of underlying mechanisms. For Study 1 the participants’self-ratings correlated poorlywith performance, reaching significance only for judgements of familiar face recognition. In Study 2 there werefew associations between face tasks and other measures, with task-level influences seeming to account for thesmall number of associations present. In general, face tasks correlated with each other, but did not show anoverall relation with other perceptual, cognitive or personality tests. Our findings are consistent with the existenceof a general face-perception factor, able to account for around 25% of the variance in scores. However, otherrelatively task-specific influences are also clearly operating
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018


  • face recognition
  • face perception
  • unfamiliar faces
  • familiar faces
  • individual differences
  • facial recognition


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