September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Super-Recognizers: 70 cases identified with a novel diagnostic framework
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Meike Ramon
    Applied Face Cognition Lab, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  MR is supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation PRIMA (Promoting Women in Academia) grant (PR00P1_179872).
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2354. doi:
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      Meike Ramon; Super-Recognizers: 70 cases identified with a novel diagnostic framework. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2354.

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

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Over the past decade, the domain of face identity processing has seen a surging interest in inter-individual differences, alongside a focus on individuals with superior skills — so-called Super-Recognizers (SRs; Russell et al., 2009; Ramon et al., 2019). Their study can provide valuable insights into brain-behavior relationships and advance our understanding of neural functioning. Despite a decade of research, and similarly to the field of developmental prosopagnosia, a consensus on diagnostic criteria for SR identification is lacking. Consequently, SRs are currently identified either inconsistently, via undocumented collections of tests, or via single (oftentimes suboptimal) tests. This state of the field has two major implications. Firstly, our scientific understanding of SRs will remain at best limited due to inclusion of false-positive “SR” cases. Secondly, the needs of international security agencies interested in deploying SRs for real-life identity verification are unlikely to be met. To counteract these issues, I suggest the following action points. Firstly, based on recent work suggesting novel and challenging tests of face cognition (Fysh et al., 2020; Stacchi et al., 2020), I have developed a novel diagnostic framework for reliable SR identification (Ramon, 2021). Its criteria are currently being used to screen the Berlin State Police’s >18K employees prior to SR identification via collaboratively developed, bespoke applied testing procedures involving authentic police material (Ramon & Rjosk, 2021). Secondly, I describe how the growing cohort of currently 70 SR individuals identified using the framework is being studied in-depth using behavioral methods, psychophysics, eye-tracking, and neuroimaging (e.g., Linka et al., 2021; Nador et al., 2021). Finally, I stress the need for transparent and consistent reporting of SR individuals across studies to exploit their informative value of this unique population to advance our understanding of brain functioning.


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