Prosopagnosia Research at Bournemouth University

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  • » Read about our research in the New Scientist! Our work examining the performance of people with extraordinary face recognition skills ("super recognisers" was one of the cover stories in a recent issue of the New Scientist. more...
  • » Have you seen our latest research papers? Recent months have seen the publication of several new papers from our lab, examining both prosopagnosia and super recognition. more...

Dr Sarah Bate BA MSc PhD CPsychol 

Principal Academic in Psychology, Bournemouth University, UK.

I completed a BA in Psychology and MSc Psychological Research Methods at the University of Exeter (UK), investigating prosopagnosia (face blindness) in my dissertations at both levels. I stayed at Exeter to study for a PhD in Psychology. Funded by the ESRC and MRC, my doctoral research examined eye-movement strategies in people with prosopagnosia, and I continued this work for a further year in a postdoctoral research position at the same institution. I began my lectureship at Bournemouth University in 2010, where I am now a Principal Academic in Psychology. I am a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Much of my work examines the nature of face-processing difficulties in both adults and children, with a particular focus on 'prosopagnosia' or 'face blindness', where people cannot recognize others from their faces alone. Other people have difficulties with faces alongside other cognitive or developmental conditions. You can read about different types of face processing difficulties and strategies for dealing with these conditions here.

In recent years I have also began to examine the face recognition abilities of people at the other end of the spectrum, who have extraorinary face recognition skills and appear to never forget a face. These so-called "super-recognisers" may be of particular use in policing and national security settings, such as passport control or when hunting for a wanted or missing person. My laboratory is now developing a specific line of expertise in forensic face recognition, and a sister website about this work is currently in preparation. In the meantime, you can read more about super recognition here.

We are always looking for volunteers to take part in our research, particularly people who are within travelling distance of Bournemouth University. This not only includes adults who believe they have face-processing difficulties, but parents or guardians of children who seem to be poor at face recognition. We are also keen to hear from anyone with normal face-processing skills who might like to act as a control participant for our research, and particularly those who believe they are a super-recogniser. You can register your details with us if you fall into any of the above categories by clicking here. If you would like to find out more about the research participation process, please click here.

Dr Sarah Bate
Face recognition and its disorders
Study a MSc at Bournemouth University