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The ability to accurately recognize others is important to everyone, particularly because important social, personal, physical, and economic resources are uniquely associated with individual persons. The recognition training that most people experience comes with everyday social interaction, containing the incentives within their social environment. The ecology of personal recognition and the social-cognitive processes through which it develops have hardly been studied, and the social conditions under which some persons might become more accurate recognizers than others are largely unknown. Attempts to improve face recognition through short-term training focused on changing the attributes of faces that participants attend to or use in encoding facial information have largely proved ineffective.

There are social environments in which higher recognition performance levels would be very valuable. These are most commonly ...

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