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A neuroscientific and cognitive examination of individual differences in face recognition ability

A neuroscientific and cognitive examination of individual differences in face recognition ability

Belanova, Elena (2017) A neuroscientific and cognitive examination of individual differences in face recognition ability. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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There are large individual differences in face processing ability, with Super-Recognisers (SRs) being exceptionally superior to individuals with average face recognition ability. This thesis describes seven experiments examining SRs’ cognitive performance as well as neural/electrical activity in order to explore potential quantitative and qualitative contributions to their face processing superiority. Chapter 4 examined whether SRs rely on holistic and parts-based processing to the same extent as controls, and whether their face recognition superiority can be observed at the face perception stage as well. SRs outperformed controls at face recognition and face matching, inverted face recognition, object recognition and feature matching. SRs also demonstrated normal (Part-Whole Effect), greater (Inversion Effect), or reduced (Composite Face Effect) holistic processing, implying a more effective use of holistic and parts-based processing. Chapter 5 explored whether SRs’ face processing superiority transcends to faces they have less experience with (infant faces), and whether this Other Age Effect could be observed on a neural/electrical level. SRs outperformed controls on adult and infant faces despite limited experience with the latter. Furthermore, EEG analysis indicated enhanced P1 (pictorial processing) and P600 (explicit recognition) in SRs during face recognition, suggesting they may benefit from a more effective pictorial processing of faces. Chapter 6 employed the Remember/Know paradigm with EEG recording to explore SRs’ recollection and familiarity of faces and objects. SRs’ recognition was often accompanied by contextual information, suggesting they remembered more than just the stimuli’s identity. Furthermore, SRs’ visual recognition was reflected in neural/electrical activity in central and right brain sites, while controls only demonstrated central site activation. Applicability of this thesis’ findings, as well as the design’s limitations and new potential directions for future research are discussed in the final chapter.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Face recognition; Super-Recognisers (SRs); recollection and familiarity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 10:40

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