Ability to recognise faces may be inherited

Being able to recognise faces well - or not - appears to be an inherited ability, according to new research to be presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Birmingham today (8 May 2014).

Kerry Schofield and Nicholas Shakeshaft from King's College London carried out a study on 1,000 pairs of twins born between 1994 and 1996, asking them to carry out a series of assessments designed to measure their success at recognising cars and faces.

A measure of how well they could recognise emotions on other people's faces was also carried out.

It was found that an ability to recognise faces is completely separate from an ability to recognise general objects. Furthermore, being able to recognise cars had no bearing on social intelligence.

"Our analyses suggest that face-processing ability is about 60 per cent heritable. The figure for recognising objects is a little higher at around 65 per cent," commented Dr Schofield.

It is hoped the findings could have implications for research into conduct disorder and autistic spectrum tendencies.

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