Individual differences in adaptive coding of face identity are linked to individual differences in face recognition ability

Gillian Rhodes, Linda Jeffery, Libby Taylor, William G Hayward, Louise Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Despite their similarity as visual patterns, we can discriminate and recognize many thousands of faces. This expertise has been linked to 2 coding mechanisms: holistic integration of information across the face and adaptive coding of face identity using norms tuned by experience. Recently, individual differences in face recognition ability have been discovered and linked to differences in holistic coding. Here we show that they are also linked to individual differences in adaptive coding of face identity, measured using face identity aftereffects. Identity aftereffects correlated significantly with several measures of face-selective recognition ability. They also correlated marginally with own-race face recognition ability, suggesting a role for adaptive coding in the well-known other-race effect. More generally, these results highlight the important functional role of adaptive face-coding mechanisms in face expertise, taking us beyond the traditional focus on holistic coding mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-903
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aptitude
  • Asian Americans
  • Attention
  • Discrimination (Psychology)
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Face
  • Female
  • Figural Aftereffect
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Practice (Psychology)
  • Recognition (Psychology)
  • Social Identification
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult

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