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Who can recognize unfamiliar faces? Individual differences and observer consistency in person identification.
J Exp Psychol Appl 2012; 18(3):277-91JE

Abstract

It can be remarkably difficult to determine whether two photographs of unfamiliar faces depict the same person or two different people. This fallibility is well established in the face perception and eyewitness domain, but most of this research has focused on the "average" observer by measuring mean performance across groups of participants. This study deviated from this convention to provide a detailed description of individual differences and observer consistency in unfamiliar face identification by assessing performance repeatedly, across a 3-day (Experiment 1) and a 5-day period (Experiment 2). Both experiments reveal considerable variation between but also within observers. This variation is such that the same observers frequently made different identification decisions to the same faces on different days (Experiment 1). And when new faces were shown on each day, observers that produced perfect accuracy on one day made many misidentifications on another (Experiment 2). However, a few individuals also performed with consistent high accuracy in these tests. These findings suggest that accuracy and consistency are separable indices of face-matching ability, and both measures are necessary to provide a precise index of a person's face processing skill. We discuss whether these measures could provide the basis for a selection tool for occupations that depend on accurate person identification.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, University of Kent, CT2 7NP, UnitedKingdom. m.bindemann@kent.ac.ukNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

22905851

Citation

Bindemann, Markus, et al. "Who Can Recognize Unfamiliar Faces? Individual Differences and Observer Consistency in Person Identification." Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied, vol. 18, no. 3, 2012, pp. 277-91.
Bindemann M, Avetisyan M, Rakow T. Who can recognize unfamiliar faces? Individual differences and observer consistency in person identification. J Exp Psychol Appl. 2012;18(3):277-91.
Bindemann, M., Avetisyan, M., & Rakow, T. (2012). Who can recognize unfamiliar faces? Individual differences and observer consistency in person identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied, 18(3), pp. 277-91. doi:10.1037/a0029635.
Bindemann M, Avetisyan M, Rakow T. Who Can Recognize Unfamiliar Faces? Individual Differences and Observer Consistency in Person Identification. J Exp Psychol Appl. 2012;18(3):277-91. PubMed PMID: 22905851.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Who can recognize unfamiliar faces? Individual differences and observer consistency in person identification. AU - Bindemann,Markus, AU - Avetisyan,Meri, AU - Rakow,Tim, Y1 - 2012/08/20/ PY - 2012/8/22/entrez PY - 2012/8/22/pubmed PY - 2013/2/14/medline SP - 277 EP - 91 JF - Journal of experimental psychology. Applied JO - J Exp Psychol Appl VL - 18 IS - 3 N2 - It can be remarkably difficult to determine whether two photographs of unfamiliar faces depict the same person or two different people. This fallibility is well established in the face perception and eyewitness domain, but most of this research has focused on the "average" observer by measuring mean performance across groups of participants. This study deviated from this convention to provide a detailed description of individual differences and observer consistency in unfamiliar face identification by assessing performance repeatedly, across a 3-day (Experiment 1) and a 5-day period (Experiment 2). Both experiments reveal considerable variation between but also within observers. This variation is such that the same observers frequently made different identification decisions to the same faces on different days (Experiment 1). And when new faces were shown on each day, observers that produced perfect accuracy on one day made many misidentifications on another (Experiment 2). However, a few individuals also performed with consistent high accuracy in these tests. These findings suggest that accuracy and consistency are separable indices of face-matching ability, and both measures are necessary to provide a precise index of a person's face processing skill. We discuss whether these measures could provide the basis for a selection tool for occupations that depend on accurate person identification. SN - 1939-2192 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22905851/abstract/Who_can_recognize_unfamiliar_faces_Individual_differences_and_observer_consistency_in_person_identification_ L2 - http://content.apa.org/journals/xap/18/3/277 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -