I never forget a face! : memory for faces and individual differences in spatial ability and gender


The present study investigated whether spatial ability is correlated with the ability to accurately recognize faces. A samp~e pf 36 undergraduates were recruited for this study. Participants completed two measures of spatial ability: The Purdue Visualization of Rotations Test as a measure of mental rotation and the Object Location Memory Test as a measure of memory for the location of objects in relation to one another. Facial recognition was measured usipg the Cambridge Face Metnory Test, which measures the recognition of faces in both upright and inverted positions. As predicted, a significant relationship was found between mental rotation and inverted facial recognition, r = .33,p < .05. There was not a significant relationship between object location memory and upright facial recognition, r=.07,p > .05. Interestingly, upright facial recognition was more closely associated with mental rotation, though the relationship did not reach statistical significance r = .24,p > .05. There was not a significant relationship between overall spatial ability and overall facial recognition, r = .17,p > .05. The traditional gender differences were found oh spatial ability such that males outperformed females on mental rotation (Males: M= 12.73, SD= 3.93; Females: M= 9.32, SD= 4.11) and females outperformed males on object location memory (Females: M= 18.80, SD= 5.53; Males: M= 14.09,_ SD= 8.19). A significant gender difference on facial recognition such that females outperform males was not found, which contradicts findings from past J research (McBain, Norton, & Chen, 2009). These results suggest that mental rotation is an important factor in human facial recognition.


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Thesis Completion



Whitten, Shannon N.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic


UCF Palm Bay







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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