The Oxford Face Matching Test: a non-biased test of the full range of individual differences in face perception

Mirta Stantic*, Rebecca Brewer, Bradley Duchaine, Michael J. Banissy, Sarah Bate, Tirta Susilo, Caroline Catmur, Geoffrey Bird

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Tests of face processing are typically designed to identify individuals performing outside of the typical range; either prosopagnosic individuals who exhibit poor face processing ability, or super recognisers, who have superior face processing abilities. Here we describe the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test (OFMT), designed to identify individual differences in face processing across the full range of performance, from prosopagnosia, through the range of typical performance, to super recognisers. Such a test requires items of varying difficulty, but establishing difficulty is problematic when particular populations (e.g., prosopagnosics, individuals with autism spectrum disorder) may use atypical strategies to process faces. If item difficulty is calibrated on neurotypical individuals, then the test may be poorly calibrated for atypical groups, and vice versa. To obtain items of varying difficulty, we used facial recognition algorithms to obtain face pair similarity ratings that are not biased towards specific populations. These face pairs were used as stimuli in the OFMT, and participants were required to judge whether the face images depicted the same individual or different individuals. Across five studies the OFMT was shown to be sensitive to individual differences in the typical population, and in groups of both prosopagnosic individuals and super recognisers. The test-retest reliability of the task was at least equivalent to the Cambridge Face Memory Test and the Glasgow Face Matching Test. Furthermore, results reveal, at least at the group level, that both face perception and face memory are poor in those with prosopagnosia, and are good in super recognisers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-173
Number of pages16
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MS is funded by an ESRC DTP studentship and a Wilfrid Knapp Science Scholarship. GB is supported by the Baily Thomas Charitable Trust. TS is supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund 16-VUW-175. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Portions of the research in this paper use the FERET database of facial images collected under the FERET program, sponsored by the DOD Counterdrug Technology Development Program Office.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Cambridge Face Memory Test
  • Face memory
  • Face perception
  • Oxford Face Matching Test
  • Prosopagnosia
  • Super recogniser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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