Think you ’re good with faces? In fact, you probably don’t know much about your own face-recognition skills

By Christian Jarrett Life would be awfully confusing if we weren’t able to recognise familiar faces. It’s a skill most of us take for granted, and we rarely stop to consider the impressive cognitive wizardry involved. But some of us are better at it than others: in the last decade or so it’s become apparent that around two per cent of the population are born with a severe face-recognition impairment (known as congenital prosopagnosia), that there is a similar proportion of “super-recognisers” with unusually exceptional face-recognition skills, and that the rest of us are on a spectrum in between. Where do you think your abilities lie? A new study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that, unless you are severely impaired at face-recognition, you probably don’t have much insight into this question. When participants were confronted with the question: “Overall, from 1-‘very poor’ to 9-‘very good’, how would you describe your general ability to recognise faces?”, the research found that most participants’ answers bore no relation to their performance on a range of lab-based face-recognition tests. Romina Palermo at the University of Western Australia led a large multi-national team that tested the face-recognition skills of nearly 300 undergrads recruited in Italy, Australia, and Belgium. The research involved establis...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Cognition Faces Source Type: blogs

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