Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Super‐recognisers: Face recognition performance after variable delay intervals

Summary Outstanding long‐term face recognition of suspects is a hallmark of the exceptionally skilled police ‘super‐recognisers’ (SRs). Yet, research investigating SR's memory for faces mainly employed brief retention intervals. Therefore, in Experiment 1, 597 participants (121 SRs) viewed 10 target videos and attempted identification of targets from 10 target‐present line‐ups after 1–56 days. In Experiment 2, 1,421 participants (301 SRs) viewed 20 target videos, and after a baseline of no delay to 28 days,—10 target‐present and 10 target‐absent line‐ups, to assess correct line‐up rejections. Overall, delay positively correlated with hits but not with correct rejections. Most, but not all SRs, made more correct identifications and correct rejections than controls at all retention intervals, demonstrating that many SRs possess enhanced long‐term face memory. This research adds to the knowledge of SR's skillsets, and enhances the case for the selection of SRs to identity critical roles—particularly policing.

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