Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Face Recall

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3454-1



Face recall is the cognitive ability to retrieve previously stored face information without visual input of the stimulus.


The visual system in modern humans is marked by a number of cognitive specializations that have been shaped by evolution. One such specialization is the ability to rapidly extract, store, and retrieve visual information from the face. For example, humans can store and freely recall up to 1000 face identities without explicit training or effort (Jenkins et al. 2018). Furthermore, humans can recognize nearly four times the number of face identities that they can recall (Jenkins et al. 2018). These two abilities – face recall and face recognition– are distinct cognitive processes that involve different levels of perceptual input, engage unique but overlapping neural mechanisms, and were likely shaped by different environmental demands. This entry will focus specifically on what makes face recall a...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Human FactorsExponent, IncAustinUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA