Tag Archives: Super-recognition and Employment

“Are you available to work in London and the Home Counties?”

Super Recognisers International



Supers are the cover story in this month’s Reader’s Digest Australia



Radio stories from the US from last year about prosopagnosia and superrecognizers



Recent articles about supers, prosopagnosia, policing and face recognition research

Keefe, Patrick Radden The detectives who never forget a face. New Yorker. August 22nd 2016. Print edition title: Total Recall.


I was glad to read in this substantial and interesting article that face identification was not the only evidence used to convict criminals. And the last couple of sentences in this piece are too true!


Montagne, Renee ‘New Yorker’: The Detectives Who Never Forget A Face. NPR. August 17th 2016.



Story on super-recognizers on Australian radio with link to test

This story with an interview of Australian researcher Dr David White was broadcast last year. I’m not actively trawling for items about super-recognition to post about here, so I only just came across it by chance.

Readers of this blog might be interested in the download linked to from the RN web page for the story, which is a difficult face matching test. I’ll give you a tip and advise to only look at the faces as you go and record your own answers as you go, and check them later.  I got only five out of eight correct.

Mackenzie, Michael The secret powers of the super-recognisers. RN Afternoons. September 2nd 2015.



Another fascinating article about the important talents of supers

Robertson, David James (2016) Could super recognisers be the latest weapon in the war on terror? The Conversation. March 25th 2016.


And don’t forget to check out the comments, one identifying a super-recognizer character in detective story literature.


Not one but four recently published studies of super-recognition!!!!

And all bar one are open access! Please readers let me know if there are more studies on supers out there.


Bobak A, Parris B, Gregory N, Bennetts R, Bate S (2016) Eye-Movement Strategies in Developmental Prosopagnosia and “Super” Face Recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Posted online: 02 Mar 2016. DOI:10.1080/17470218.2016.1161059


The above paper interesting as it apparently supports the idea that developmental prosopagnosia is a heterogeneous condition and at least the most severe cases are not simply the bottom end of a spectrum of ability. The authors do seem to regard supers as the top end of a spectrum though. Researchers also found that supers and able controls spent more time looking at noses, a finding which I think I recall from another study. It makes sense to me as I feel that great face recognition ability is an automatic and involuntary process (like synaesthesia) that involves perception of the face as a whole “landscape”.


Bobak AK, Dowsett AJ, Bate S (2016) Solving the Border Control Problem: Evidence of Enhanced Face Matching in Individuals with Extraordinary Face Recognition Skills. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0148148. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148148




Bobak AK, Hancock PJB, Bate S. Super-recognisers in Action: Evidence from Face-matching and Face Memory Tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2016;30:81–91. doi: 10.1002/acp.3170



Robertson DJ, Noyes E, Dowsett AJ, Jenkins R, Burton AM (2016) Face Recognition by Metropolitan Police Super-Recognisers. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0150036. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150036



Anna Bobak and Dr Sarah Bate have been busy!


Superior visual recognition ability plus plant knowledge gives instant alert to story that doesn’t add up

Within just a few seconds of looking at a photo in this Western Australian news story I knew something wasn’t right about the story, thanks to my great ability to identify plants by sight, which is I believe associated with my “super-recognizer” level of ability in face recognition and face memory.

Young, Emma Perth couple’s garden dream crushed for last time with Wembley verge demolition. WA Today. February 13th 2016.


Within the first sentence of the story the garden at the centre of the story is identified as an “eco-friendly garden” but at a glance I identified the two ground-cover plants in the first two photos as environmental weeds of South African origin, Osteospermum ecklonis and Carpobrotus edulis. There is nothing “eco-friendly” about a garden in which environmental weeds are planted and nurtured! The more I and others have looked into the story, the more things we have discovered that don’t add up. Beware!

This is just another hint at why employers, especially those in government, security and law enforcement, need to be considering visual recognition ability as well as face memory ability while recruiting and deploying employees, to the point of testing this ability. Visual recognition ability is vitally important in more ways than we can predict.

Radio story from BBC in October 2015 about supers and the Met


This week’s New Scientist has cover story about super-recognizers