Crosswords and Facial Recognition

by F.

Next time you have to go down to the police station to view a line-up, think about skipping that morning’s crossword:

Michael Lewis at Cardiff University presented 60 students with 14 faces, one at a time, for three seconds each. Some of the students then read a passage of a Dan Brown book for five minutes, others performed a Sudoku puzzle during this time, some completed a simple crossword, while others worked on a cryptic crossword. The students were then presented with a further 28 faces and they had to identify the original faces among these. During this identification phase, the participants also continued with their allotted puzzle/ reading for 30 seconds between the presentation of each face.

The students working on the cryptic crossword performed significantly worse at the face recognition task than all the other participants (68 per cent accuracy compared with 80 per cent for simple crossword, 76 per cent for reading and 79 per cent for Sudoku). Relative to chance performance, Lewis said this represented a 40 per cent reduction in performance for the cryptic crossword participants relative to the others.

This is just odd. BPS Research Digest has the full story.