Investigating predictors of superior face recognition ability in police super-recognisers

Davis, Josh P.; Lander, Karen; Evans, Ray and Jansari, Ashok S.. 2016. Investigating predictors of superior face recognition ability in police super-recognisers. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30(6), pp. 827-840. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

[img] Text
Davis Lander Evans & Jansari 2016.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB)

Abstract or Description

There are large individual differences in the ability to recognise faces. Super-recognisers are exceptionally good at face memory tasks. In London, a small specialist pool of police officers (also labelled ‘super-recognisers’ by the Metropolitan Police Service) annually makes 1,000’s of suspect identifications from CCTV footage. Some suspects are disguised, have not been encountered recently, or are depicted in poor quality images. Across tests measuring familiar face recognition, unfamiliar face memory and unfamiliar face matching, the accuracy of members of this specialist police pool was approximately equal to a group of non-police super-recognisers. Both groups were more accurate than matched control members of the public. No reliable relationships were found between the face processing tests and object recognition. Within each group however, there were large performance variations across tests, and this research has implications for the deployment of police worldwide in operations requiring officers with superior face processing ability.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



1 July 2016Accepted
2 August 2016Published Online
1 November 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2017 16:41

Last Modified:

20 Jan 2021 08:52

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)