September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Extraversion predicts superior face-specific recognition ability, but through experience, not positive affect
Author Affiliations
  • Karen Arnell
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
  • Blaire Dube
    Department of Psychology, University of Guelph
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 175. doi:
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      Karen Arnell, Blaire Dube; Extraversion predicts superior face-specific recognition ability, but through experience, not positive affect. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):175.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Experience is an important factor in developing face recognition ability. Given that extraverts show increased social involvement, extraversion may be associated with greater experience with faces, thereby leading to enhanced face recognition ability. However, extraverts also characteristically display high positive affect – an affective state thought to bias visual processing to be more global or holistic in nature. Given the large body of evidence suggesting that faces are processed holistically, positive affect may lead to superior face processing for extraverts aside from their increased social experiences (i.e. positive affect may mediate any relationship between extraversion and face recognition ability). To examine the relationships between extraversion, positive affect, and face and non-face recognition ability, university student participants completed self-report measures of personality and affect before completing the Cambridge Face Memory Task (CFMT), and a matched control task assessing recognition of cars (Cambridge Car Memory Task, CCMT). Each measure was taken twice, separated by one week. All measures showed very high test-retest reliability and scores were therefore averaged across both sessions. A face-specific recognition advantage was observed for individuals high in extraversion in that extraversion predicted better face recognition, even when controlling for non-face recognition. No relationships were observed between state or trait positive affect and recognition ability. Further, statistically controlling for affect strengthened the relationship between extraversion and face-specific recognition ability, suggesting that there is something inherent to extraversion aside from positive affect that benefits face recognition. We suggest that extraverts gregariousness allows greater opportunities for developing face expertise.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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