Project

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Mechanisms of superior face recognition

Applicant Ramon Meike
Number 179872
Funding scheme PRIMA
Research institution Institut de psychologie Faculté des Sciences Sociales et Politiques Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.03.2019 - 29.02.2024
Approved amount 1'478'908.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Psychology
Applied psychology

Keywords (3)

Face recognition; Super-Recognizer; Gesichtserkennung

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Im Alltag sind wir stetig darauf angewiesen, unsere Mitmenschen wieder zu erkennen - meist anhand ihrer Gesichter.
Lay summary

Allerdings unterscheiden sich Menschen in ihrer Fähigkeit, Gesichter zu erkennen. Derzeit sind Defizite der Gesichtserkennung, sowie ihre “normale” Ausprägung gut beschrieben. Viel weniger wissen wir jedoch über sogenannte “Super-Recognizer” – Personen, die über überdurchschnittliche Gesichtserkennungsfähigkeiten verfügen. Was genau sind ihre Stärken, und wo liegen die Grenzen ihrer Fähigkeiten? Können die Fertigkeiten von Super-Recognizern im Alltag, zum Beispiel im Polizei-Alltag, eingesetzt werden? Diesen Fragen geht das Projekt auf den Grund. Tragbare Techniken ermöglichen eine grossflächige, Labor-unabhängige Testung grosser Stichproben – einschliesslich Mitarbeitern internationaler Polizei-Behörden. Das Projekt zielt darauf ab, Unterschiede in der Gesichtserkennung sowohl auf der Verhaltenseben, als auch auf der Hirnebene zu charakterisieren, um unser Verständnis von überragender Gesichtserkennungsfähigkeit zu erweitern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.08.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Every day interactions require us to recognize others - usually based on their faces.
Lay summary

However, individuals differ in their ability to recognize others’ faces. Currently, both deficient and normal face processing are well understood. Far less is known about so-called Super-Recognizers – people with above average face processing skills. Exactly what characterizes their skill, and what are the boundaries of their abilities? Can Super-Recognizers’ skills be used in real life, for example in law enforcement? This project explores these questions. Portable techniques provide “mobile laboratories” and enable large-scale testing – including employees of international police agencies. The project aims to characterize individual differences in face processing in terms of behavior and the brain, to advance our understanding of superior face recognition.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.08.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Benjamin de Haas; Justus Liebig University Giessen Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Michael Vomland, Criminal Investigation Department Neuwied Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Lorenz Wyss, Stadtpolizei Winterthur, Fahndungsabteilung Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Matt Fysh, University of Kent Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Ian Charest, University of Birmingham Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Matt Groh, MIT Media Lab United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kantonspolizei Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kantonspolizei Fribourg, Kriminalpolizei Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Marksu M. Thielgen, Rhineland-Palatinate Police University Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Prof. Roberto Caldara; Visual & Social Neuroscience, Dept of Psychology, University of Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Der Polizeipräsident in Berlin, LKA St FüU, Germany Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Anna Bobak, University of Stirling Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- Publication
Dr. Mauro Manassi Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Lisa Stacchi; Visual & Social Neuroscience, Dept of Psychology, University of Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Frederic Gosselin, Dept of Psychology, University of Montreal Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Vision Sciences Society 2021 Poster Super-Recognizers: 70 cases identified with a novel diagnostic framework 13.05.2021 online, United States of America Ramon Meike;
63rd Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP) Poster A novel diagnostic framework for Super-Recognizer identification 14.03.2021 Ulm, Germany Ramon Meike;
Vision Sciences Society 2020 Poster Multivariate pattern analysis reveal domain-general enhancement of visual representations in individuals with “super-recognition” of faces 19.06.2020 St. Pete Beach, Florida (online conference), United States of America Ramon Meike; Zoia Matteo;
Vision Sciences Society 2019 Poster Normative data for two ecologically valid tests of facial identity matching 17.05.2019 St. Pete Beach, Florida, United States of America Ramon Meike; Huguenin-Elie Eva;
Vision Sciences Society 2019 Poster Super-Recognizers in Criminal Investigation - Hype or Hope? 17.05.2019 St. Pete Beach, Florida, United States of America Ramon Meike;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Police Congress Talk 14.09.2021 Berlin, Germany Ramon Meike;
Super-Recognizers: what we know, don't know, and need to know (Keynote Speaker). 2nd Consortium Workshop of the EU-Project SafeCi – Safer Space for Safer Cities, EU Commission Berlin Talk 12.02.2020 Berlin, Germany Ramon Meike;
Erfahrungsaustausch Bildfahndung - Kantonspolizei & Stadtpolizei Zurich Talk 12.06.2019 Zürich, Switzerland Ramon Meike;
European Pickpocketing Conference 2019, Europol Talk 06.05.2019 den Haag, Netherlands Ramon Meike;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Haben Sie das Super-Auge? Hörzu Wissen International 2022
Talks/events/exhibitions Human "Super-Recognizers" and automatic face recognition for policing International 2022
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Face Blindness & Super Recognition Futureproof International 2021
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Super Recognizer: Hype oder Hoffnung? Erkenntnisse aus Kooperationen mir der Polizei Digitaler Polizeitag, Behördenspiegel International 2021
Media relations: radio, television Super-Recognizer - Profis beim Erkennen von Gesichtern Südwestrundfunk (SWR2) International 2021
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Super-Recognizers: Frequently Asked Questions Applied Face Cognition Lab website International 2021
Media relations: print media, online media They never forget a face. Research delves into how ‘super-recognizers’ can do this. Washington Post International 2021
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Wenn man sich jedes Gesicht merken kann Migros Magazin International German-speaking Switzerland 2021
Media relations: print media, online media Batman and Ramon – Gesichtserkennung für Fortgeschrittene Alma & Georges International Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: radio, television Die Stadtpolizei Winterthur sucht Gesichtsprofis Top Online / RADIO TOP International German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: radio, television Facial recognition: police and artificial intelligence OstWest TV International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Sie vergessen kein Gesicht: Berlins Polizei sucht die Super-Recognizer DER TAGESSPIEGEL International 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Super-Recognizers as a tool for policing? International 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Super-Recognizers: facts, fallacies, and the future International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Zürcher Polizei setzt auf Gesichtsprofis für Verbrecherjagd Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Der Super-Recognizer erkennt dich besser als jede Kamera Tagesanzeiger / Der Bund / Berner Zeitung / Basler Zeitung International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Die Super-Erkenner Donaukurier International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Gesichtsprofis sollen uns vor Terrorismus schützen 20 Minuten Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Hochbegabte in Sachen Gesichtserkennung Neue Zürcher Zeitung International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Selbst fremde Gesichter wirken vertraut DonauKurier International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media SUPER-RECOGNIZER – Menschen, die kein Gesicht vergessen” Annabelle German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Super-Recognizers what we know, don’t know, and need to know. International 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Wissen wir eigentlich was wir sehen? German-speaking Switzerland 2019

Abstract

The scientific domain of face processing is a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and growing field of research that continues to offer novel insights into the functioning of the human brain, as well as generate novel, intriguing questions and implications for practical applications. Currently, we have a wealth of knowledge at our disposal regarding normal face-processing abilities for unfamiliar faces. However, there appears to be a consensus that face processing abilities lie on a continuum, and our firm grasp on the abilities of individuals in the middle “normal” part of that continuum stands in contrast to our limited understanding of the mechanisms associated with both inferior and superior face processing abilities at either extreme of that continuum.This project addresses a novel research area by systematically investigating the mechanisms underlying superior face processing as displayed by so-called “Super-Recognizers” (SRs). Superior face processing is an infant research field with extremely limited, and moreover highly heterogeneous empirical findings, that is nonetheless receiving widespread and increasing public interest. This status quo represents challenges and opportunities alike. Increased interest in this field will facilitate research that will also advance our current knowledge of face processing and human vision. However, transfer to applied settings is in demand now, despite the limited knowledge currently available.This project seeks to bridge the gap between the lab and the real-world to substantially advance our understanding of superior face processing. Collaborations with international law enforcement agencies will enable SR identification based on systematically validated tests used for research purposes. This sample will be complemented with SRs identified under professionally relevant scenarios, with a bespoke assessment tool currently developed for the Criminal Investigation Department of the Berlin Police. Both groups will complete in-depth assessment implemented using portable setups that “bring the lab to the participant".Characterizing the brain-behavior relationship in SRs, this project seeks to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying superior face processing capacities. Given its implications for theories of human cognition, law enforcement, and automatic face recognition, the findings of this project have fundamental scientific, as well as applied value.
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