Monthly Archives: September 2013

Check out my collection of documents and resources about super-recognizers

I’ve spent some time adding stuff to and fixing up my collection of research studies, science journal papers, tests, television reports, radio shows and articles about super-recognizers. I’ve done this because of the recent upsurge in journalistic attention to the subject and the recent publication of a couple of science news/professional education type articles. I hope you find my collection useful and perhaps feel inspired to find out more about the science and the usefulness of super-recognisers.

Super-recognizers, superrecognisers, superrecognition, super-recognisers, superrecognizers, super-recognition, whatever: a hastily put together list of essential sources and tests

Short super-recognizer test here!

UPDATE DECEMBER 2013 – this thing appears to be no longer going.

This test is from the superrecognition researcher Dr Josh Davis of the University of Greenwich. You can do the test just out of interest, but if your score suggests you could be a super-recognizer, you can also volunteer your details to possibly be the subject of research. This is a very brief test. To be honest, I’m not convinced this test is long enough or hard enough to really sort the supers from the normals with good ability. Oddly, there is no automatic scoring in the test and you need to note your own score. I didn’t notice getting any wrong, so I guess I must have got a perfect score. I found that for most of the test arrays of faces I didn’t need to look at all of the faces that one could choose from, because I spotted the familiar face quickly, and felt sure of my fast and first choice of face. Sometimes I looked at most of the faces, just to be sure, but it seemed to be a bit redundant and irrational. Me getting a perfect score in this test is no surprise, as I got a perfect score in the short CFMT and the Famous Faces tests, and a super-recognizer level score in the long form of the CFMT when tested at a WA university. I’d still recommend the CFMT as the gold standard in face memory testing, but I don’t think that test is easy to access any more. Why not try this one? It will cost you only 3 minutes of your life.

A spate of science news and newspaper stories about super-recognizers

The Psychologist (sadly behind paywall) –

Associated Press / –

Science News –

The Times of India –

Daily Mail –

Express –

CBS News –

The Verge –

The Windsor Star –

MinnPost –

Daily Herald –

Monterey Herald –

Ad Hoc News ––/de/News/32088649


But will it ever catch on in Australia? Nah!

That smell….

This week I had the pleasure of being in the midst of a mass-planting of some low bushes which had masses of white flowers on them. I think it might have been a Rhaphiolepis species or a White Hawthorn, and the flowers were giving off the most refined but strong scent. At first I thought the delightful smell was the same as the one given off by a highly scented winter-flowering blue scaevola which I have growing in my own garden, but later I perceived a sweeter smell, a lacey pure white cake icing kind of smell. The floral fragrance was exactly the same scent that I wrote about in this post: Why does the scent of a white hawthorm make me think of white cake icing? An ancient trace of a childhood memory? Synaesthesia?

This is a French webpage noting the wonderful fragrance of a Rhaphiolepis:,rhaphiolepis-blanc,FR,223


The One Show from April this year – story about super-recognizers

The ubiquitous Dr Michael Mosley interviews super-recognizer policeman Gary Collins and super-recognition researcher Dr Josh Davis. Thank you Dr Davis, thank you BBC 1 Scotland and thank you YouTube.

Super-recognisers on The One Show (BBC1, 7PM), from 9th April 2013.

YouTube channel of Dr Josh P. Davis:

UWA seminar on Tuesday could be interesting

“In this seminar, I will present data on three inter-related aspects of attentional focusing: the spatiotemporal dynamics of focusing, object representations and their role in focusing, and the consequences of focusing on visual processing.”

I’m quite interested in visual processing, although I’m not a professional researcher in psychology. I’m not a professional researcher in anything at all. I don’t get paid, I think in my own time. If I were to follow the current zeitgeist I’d be playing sport instead of thinking (Australia has a federal minister for sport but none for science I believe), but I’m not one to follow trends.

The speaker of this upcoming seminar at UWA is Dr. Lisa Jefferies. Unless I am mistaken, another area of research that she has explored is face perception, but there is no hint that face perception will be covered in this seminar.

To be (broad) or not to be (broad): The dynamics of attentional focusing. Science Network Western Australia.

Lisa Jefferies

Colloquium:  To be (broad) or not to be (broad).

Some links to old stuff about amusia, a disorder of the perception of music

Amusia. Frontiers. BBC Radio 4. December 13th 2006 I couldn’t get this to play, but you might have more luck.

McBurney, Gerard The sounds of music. New Statesman. October 25th 2007.

TV show about testing memory on SBS tonight

Part two of three episodes in the documentary series Test Your Brain from the United States is scheduled on SBS tonight at 8.30pm. I didn’t see the first episode in the series, so I’m not sure what it is like, and I’m not sure whether or not face memory will be tested or discussed in tonight’s episode. Should be interesting, though.