Example stimuli in a figure - Emily R. Strong

broadbeansromanceAI and Robotics

Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)



Face processing abilities relate to career choice

A person’s ability to process faces could potentially impact the quality of their social
interactions and affect their success in careers that require high levels of social interaction.
Indeed, face recognition ability varies greatly in the normal populat
ion, largely due to genetic
factors (Wilmer et al, 2010), and facial emotion recognition ability has also been shown to vary
widely (Baron
Cohen et al., 2001). However, the everyday correlates of individual differences
in face processing abilities remain
largely unstudied. Here, we investigated the relationship
between career choice and an individual’s ability to remember faces (via the Cambridge Face
Memory Test (CFMT), Duchaine & Nakayama, 2007) and label facial expressions (via the
Reading the Mind in
the Eyes Test (RMET), Baron
Cohen et al., 2001). Through our website
www.testmybrain.org, 5396 participants completed the CFMT, the RMET, and a questionnaire
about their careers.

There was significant variation between careers on both the CFMT
> 3.0,

< .001)
and the RME (



Individuals with careers in visual arts/graphic design
and law performed significantly better than average on both tests, while those with careers in
computers/IT performed significantly worse than average on the
CFMT, but within the normal
range on the RMET. A particularly significant effect was found for individuals with careers in
visual arts/graphic design, who performed over a third of a standard deviation better than average
on the CFMT (
= .35,


= 3.6,

< .001). These results document a clear relationship between
face processing abilities and choice of career.


Figure 1

Mean performance on Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT) and Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test
(RMET) for different career groups, shown

as percent correct.

A. Representative study and test items for the

Participants first memorize six faces, each viewed from three angles (example shown in top row), then
attempt to identify those faces among two distractors without added visual noi
se (second row) and with added visual
noise (third row). B. Mean score on CFMT for controls and participants in visual arts/graphic design, computers/IT,
and law.

Bars show ±1SE.

*p <= .05. ***p < .001.


Representative test item for the

attempt to choose which of four words most accurately captures an emotion conveyed by an image of eyes. D.

Mean score on RMET for controls and participants in visual arts/graphic design, computers/IT, and law.

Bars show
±1SE. *p < .05.

**p <= .