Perceived ability and actual recognition accuracy for unfamiliar and famous faces

Authors: Bindemann, M., Attard, J. and Johnston, R.A.

Journal: Cogent Psychology

Volume: 1

Issue: 1

eISSN: 2331-1908

DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2014.986903


In forensic person recognition tasks, mistakes in the identification of unfamiliar faces occur frequently. This study explored whether these errors might arise because observers are poor at judging their ability to recognize unfamiliar faces, and also whether they might conflate the recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Across two experiments, we found that observers could predict their ability to recognize famous but not unfamiliar faces. Moreover, observers seemed to partially conflate these abilities by adjusting ability judgements for famous faces after a test of unfamiliar face recognition (Experiment 1) and vice versa (Experiment 2). These findings suggest that observers have limited insight into their ability to identify unfamiliar faces. These experiments also show that judgements of recognition abilities are malleable and can generalize across different face categories.

Source: Scopus