Item Response Theory Analyses of the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT)

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We evaluated the psychometric properties of the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT; Duchaine & Nakayama, 2006). First, we assessed the dimensionality of the test with a bifactor exploratory factor analysis (EFA). This EFA analysis revealed a general factor and 3 specific factors clustered by targets of CFMT. However, the 3 specific factors appeared to be minor factors that can be ignored. Second, we fit a unidimensional item response model. This item response model showed that the CFMT items could discriminate individuals at different ability levels and covered a wide range of the ability continuum. We found the CFMT to be particularly precise for a wide range of ability levels. Third, we implemented item response theory (IRT) differential item functioning (DIF) analyses for each gender group and 2 age groups (age ≤ 20 vs. age > 21). This DIF analysis suggested little evidence of consequential differential functioning on the CFMT for these groups, supporting the use of the test to compare older to younger, or male to female, individuals. Fourth, we tested for a gender difference on the latent facial recognition ability with an explanatory item response model. We found a significant but small gender difference on the latent ability for face recognition, which was higher for women than men by 0.184, at age mean 23.2, controlling for linear and quadratic age effects. Finally, we discuss the practical considerations of the use of total scores versus IRT scale scores in applications of the CFMT.

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