Individual ability to identify facial expressions varies considerably between people yet little is known about what underpins this variation. Two perceptual mechanisms, holistic coding and adaptive coding, have been shown to occur during both identity and expression recognition. Previous research has shown they are associated with individual differences in identity recognition. This study investigates whether the strength of these processes is linked with individual differences in expression recognition. Holistic coding ability, adaptive coding ability and the ability to recognize expressions was measured in forty-nine participants. No significant relationship was found between holistic coding ability and expression recognition accuracy. This could suggest that holistic coding ability may not be related to the accuracy of expression recognition or that the relationship is weak and could not be detected with these data. A significant positive correlation was found between adaptive coding and expression recognition ability. This suggests that adaptive coding is important for expression recognition.