Super-Memorizers Are Not Super-Recognizers.

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PloS one, ISSN: 1932-6203, Vol: 11, Issue: 3, Page: e0150972

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10.1371/journal.pone.0150972; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.g005; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.t004; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.t005; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.g003; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.t002; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.t001; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.g004; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.t003; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.g002; 10.1371/journal.pone.0150972.g001
PMC4805230; 4805230
Meike Ramon; Sebastien Miellet; Anna M. Dzieciol; Boris Nikolai Konrad; Martin Dresler; Roberto Caldara; Randi Starrfelt
Public Library of Science (PLoS); Figshare
Medicine; Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Neuroscience; Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified; Science Policy; Mental Health; Hematology; expertise; face processing tasks; memorizer; strategy; association; face system; eye movement strategies; World Memory Championships; associative; 111714 Mental Health; 69999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified; Education; Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Humans have a natural expertise in recognizing faces. However, the nature of the interaction between this critical visual biological skill and memory is yet unclear. Here, we had the unique opportunity to test two individuals who have had exceptional success in the World Memory Championships, including several world records in face-name association memory. We designed a range of face processing tasks to determine whether superior/expert face memory skills are associated with distinctive perceptual strategies for processing faces. Superior memorizers excelled at tasks involving associative face-name learning. Nevertheless, they were as impaired as controls in tasks probing the efficiency of the face system: face inversion and the other-race effect. Super memorizers did not show increased hippocampal volumes, and exhibited optimal generic eye movement strategies when they performed complex multi-item face-name associations. Our data show that the visual computations of the face system are not malleable and are robust to acquired expertise involving extensive training of associative memory.