Researchers have found that the genes we inherit can play a crucial role in how developed our facial recognition skills are.In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Nicholas G Shakeshaft and Robert Plomin from the King's College London state that cognitive abilities are strongly influenced by genetics. The researchers asked 2,000 18- and 19-year-old British twins to complete tests assessing their face recognition, object recognition, and general cognitive abilities. Using data from the twins, the paper claims to show that the genetic influences on face recognition are almost entirely unique.The participants completed a test of their face processing skills, including memorising unfamiliar faces, and also tests of their ability to memorise cars, and their general intelligence, in terms of their vocabulary size and their ability to solve abstract problems.Results confirmed a substantial heritability of face recognition (61%), and multivariate genetic analyses found that most of this genetic influence was unique and not shared with other cognitive abilities.”These findings seem consistent with the argument for evolutionary-and thus genetic-specificity,” write the scientists. “Most of the substantial heritability of face recognition ߪ is due to genetic influences that are not shared either with general object recognition.”Shakeshaft and Plomin write that their findings supports the notion that there is something special about human facial recognition ability. These results add to others that have suggested face recognition is a special mental ability.