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      Capturing specific abilities as a window into human individuality: The example of face recognition


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          Proper characterization of each individual's unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses requires good measures of diverse abilities. Here, we advocate combining our growing understanding of neural and cognitive mechanisms with modern psychometric methods in a renewed effort to capture human individuality through a consideration of specific abilities. We articulate five criteria for the isolation and measurement of specific abilities, then apply these criteria to face recognition. We cleanly dissociate face recognition from more general visual and verbal recognition. This dissociation stretches across ability as well as disability, suggesting that specific developmental face recognition deficits are a special case of a broader specificity that spans the entire spectrum of human face recognition performance. Item-by-item results from 1,471 web-tested participants, included as supplementary information, fuel item analyses, validation, norming, and item response theory (IRT) analyses of our three tests: (a) the widely used Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT); (b) an Abstract Art Memory Test (AAMT), and (c) a Verbal Paired-Associates Memory Test (VPMT). The availability of this data set provides a solid foundation for interpreting future scores on these tests. We argue that the allied fields of experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and vision science could fuel the discovery of additional specific abilities to add to face recognition, thereby providing new perspectives on human individuality.

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          A cortical region consisting entirely of face-selective cells.

          Face perception is a skill crucial to primates. In both humans and macaque monkeys, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) reveals a system of cortical regions that show increased blood flow when the subject views images of faces, compared with images of objects. However, the stimulus selectivity of single neurons within these fMRI-identified regions has not been studied. We used fMRI to identify and target the largest face-selective region in two macaques for single-unit recording. Almost all (97%) of the visually responsive neurons in this region were strongly face selective, indicating that a dedicated cortical area exists to support face processing in the macaque.
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              Convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of competing measures of emotional intelligence.

              This study investigated the convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of one ability test of emotional intelligence (EI)--the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)--and two self-report measures of EI--the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and the self-report EI test (SREIT). The MSCEIT showed minimal relations to the EQ-i and SREIT, whereas the latter two measures were moderately interrelated. Among EI measures, the MSCEIT was discriminable from well-studied personality and well-being measures, whereas the EQ-i and SREIT shared considerable variance with these measures. After personality and verbal intelligence were held constant, the MSCEIT was predictive of social deviance, the EQ-i was predictive of alcohol use, and the SREIT was inversely related to academic achievement. In general, results showed that ability EI and self-report EI are weakly related and yield different measurements of the same person.

                Author and article information

                Cogn Neuropsychol
                Cogn Neuropsychol
                Cognitive Neuropsychology
                Taylor & Francis
                22 February 2013
                July 2012
                : 29
                : 5-6
                : 360-392
                [1 ] Department of Psychology, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA
                [2 ] Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
                [3 ] Department of Psychology, Union College, Schenectady, NY, USA
                [4 ] Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence should be sent to Jeremy B. Wilmer, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA (E-mail: jwilmer@ 123456wellesley.edu)

                Thanks to Brad Duchaine, Holum Kwok, and three reviewers for their valuable input. Author contributions: J.B.W. designed the study, analysed the data, and wrote the paper; L.G. created the Famous Faces Memory Test (FFMT), produced online versions of Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT), Abstract Art Memory Test (AAMT), and Verbal Paired-associates Memory Test (VPMT), ran the discriminant validity study and the CFMT convergent validity study online, and provided feedback on the manuscript; C.F.C. and M.G. created the VPMT and Code Learning Memory Test (CLMT), conducted the VPMT convergent validity study, and wrote the VPMT portion of Section 1; G.C. created the AAMT and Object and Scene Memory Test (OSMT), conducted the AAMT convergent validity study, and drafted the AAMT portion of Section 1; K.N. provided input on writing and presentation of analyses.

                This article was originally published with errors. This version has been corrected. Please see erratum ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02643294.2013.780378).

                © 2012 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business

                This is an open access article distributed under the Supplemental Terms and Conditions for iOpenAccess articles published in Taylor & Francis journals , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                test development,face recognition,face perception,web testing,specific ability,general ability,iq,visual memory,developmental prosopagnosia


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