December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Serial dependence as a stable attribute in Super-Recognizers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mauro Manassi
    School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, UK
  • Fiammetta Marini
    School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, UK
  • Meike Ramon
    Applied Face Cognition Lab, Switzerland
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  MM is supported by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland RIG00985. MR is supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation PRIMA (Promoting Women in Academia) grant (PR00P1_179872).
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3881. doi:
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      Mauro Manassi, Fiammetta Marini, Meike Ramon; Serial dependence as a stable attribute in Super-Recognizers. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3881.

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

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In serial dependence, perception of stimulus features is assimilated toward stimuli presented in previous trials. This constant error in visual perception has been proposed as a mechanism that promotes perceptual stability in everyday life. Super-Recognizers (SRs) are people that exhibit naturally occurring superiority for processing facial identity. Despite the increase of SR-research, the mechanism(s) underlying their exceptional abilities remain(s) unclear. Here, we investigated whether SRs’ enhanced facial identity processing could be attributed to the lack of sequential effects, such as serial dependence. We hypothesized that an absence of this constant source of error in SRs could account for their superior processing — potentially in a domain-general fashion. To this end, observers performed three experiments probing serial dependence for orientation, identity, and shape stimuli. We tested (1) a group of SRs (n=17) identified as exhibiting exceptional face perception, or superior perception and recognition skills using a battery of tests, and (2) an age-matched control group (n=18). Participants were presented with a sequence of randomly oriented Gabors, morphed face identities, or shapes. On each trial, the task was to adjust the orientation of a bar, a face’s identity, or a shape to match the previously presented ones. We found serial dependence in controls and SRs alike. Importantly, there was no difference in the strength of serial dependence across the two groups. Our results show that enhanced face identity processing skills in SRs cannot be attributed to the lack of sequential effects. These results further reinforce the idea of serial dependence as a general mechanism exhibited by different populations.


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