People have modest, not good, insight into their face recognition ability: a comparison between self-report questionnaires

Daisuke Matsuyoshi*, Katsumi Watanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Whether people have insight into their face recognition ability has been intensely debated in recent studies using self-report measures. Although some studies showed people’s good insight, other studies found the opposite. The discrepancy might be caused by the difference in the questionnaire used and/or the bias induced using an extreme group such as suspected prosopagnosics. To resolve this issue, we examined the relationship between the two representative self-report face recognition questionnaires (Survey, N = 855) and then the extent to which the questionnaires differ in their relationship with face recognition performance (Experiment, N = 180) in normal populations, which do not include predetermined extreme groups. We found a very strong correlation (r = 0.82), a dominant principal component (explains > 90% of the variance), and comparable reliability between the questionnaires. Although these results suggest a strong common factor underlying them, the residual variance is not negligible (33%). Indeed, the follow-up experiment showed that both questionnaires have significant but moderate correlations with actual face recognition performance, and that the correlation was stronger for the Kennerknecht’s questionnaire (r = − 0.38) than for the PI20 (r = − 0.23). These findings not only suggest people’s modest insight into their face recognition ability, but also urge researchers and clinicians to carefully assess whether a questionnaire is suitable for estimating an individual’s face recognition ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1723
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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