New Scientist article: Voice and face recognition ability correlations

Congratulations on Ryan Jenkins for his PhD research featuring in New Scientist last week, "Some people are exceptionally good at recognising voices" written by Jason Murugesu (article here unfortunately behind a paywall: Some of our regular participants contributed to this research in 2018-2019. You will have taken 3 voice recognition tests to add to the two face processing tests already completed. Thanks again for all your help.

If you want to read about the research in more detail, Ryan has submitted a pre-print to this site  ( The article has also been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In brief, Ryan found positive correlations between voice and face tests, and also proportionally twice as many super-recognisers of faces achieved Ryan's tentative criteria for 'super-voice-recogniser', suggesting there may be a common mechanism driving these the two skills. Interestingly, and supporting hypotheses, these effects did not extend to bell recogniton suggestive of a human identity-specific effect. Similar face-specific effects are found with faces.

This was exploratory research and therefore caution is required in interpreting the findings, although the results now allow Ryan to delve deeper into explaining these effects throughout the rest of his PhD. If no correlation had been found, his PhD would have naturally developed in a different direction. It is certainly exciting times at Team Greenwich Super-Recognisers.

There were a couple of minor typos in the New Scientist article. Most important was that the total number of participants who contributed was 529, and not all were super-recognisers as was stated. However, lots of super-recognisers did take part. How many? Read the pre-print and hopefully the published article.

Note - Ryan's PhD is fully funded by a University of Greenwich Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship Award. He is supervised by Josh Davis, Stella Tsermentseli and Claire Monks at the University of Greenwich. The research described in New Scientist was conducted in collaboration with David Robertson (Strathclyde University), Sarah Stevenage and Ashley Symons (University of Southampton).


©2019 by SR

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