Individual Differences Between Observers in Face Matching
Increasing evidence suggests vast individual differences in face-matching performance in both lay perceivers and relevant professionals. However, the field is hampered by a paucity of psychometric-standard assessment tasks. This chapter reviews the current evidence supporting individual differences in face matching, in light of the reliability of the available tools. The potential underpinnings of these individual differences are reviewed, alongside the overlap between different continua of face-processing skills. Given that so-called super-recognizers may offer a powerful security tool in relevant settings, the identification and deployment of these individuals are critically discussed. In particular, the reliability and appropriateness of current terminology and assessment tools are considered, together with potential limitations in the performance of even the strongest face matchers. While the current conceptualization of super-recognition can no doubt advance academic theory, this approach may not adequately identify the best individuals for real-world forensic face-matching tasks.