HashOut: 2007/08/17
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Women beat men at recognizing faces

In case you hadn't already guessed, it's now official: women beat men hands down at remembering a face.

Swedish researchers conducted an online experiment using 1800 participants, each of whom was given eight tasks involving matching a picture of a face with ten similar faces under various conditions -- in profile, silhouetted or with different facial expression or degrees of picture quality. The study found that not only were women better at recognizing faces than men, but they were less likely to be distracted by changes in hairstyle or facial expression.

The result is probably a mixture of genetic difference and training. Women may be better at studying faces because they're more likely to be the main carer in a family and have more eye contact with children. The findings have implications for recruitment in industries such as security and customs, where facial recognition matters.
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