Super-recognizers

Are you a super-recognizer of faces? Take the short test to find out. 

Predictably, I’m not. And that’s putting it very mildly. I couldn’t shake the feeling that everybody was #4 and voted accordingly. 

14 thoughts on “Super-recognizers

  1. I scored 13/14, which doesn’t surprise me, as I never forget a face (apparently the test says I am a super-recognizer, whatever that means). I thought that’s how all people were, but living with my husband taught me differently. It’s amazing how little he remembers about people (face, let alone names) unless he’s met them repeatedly. My eldest son is the same; for instance, neither of them will recognize an actor, whom we saw two days ago in a TV show, but are now seeing with a slightly altered appearance (e.g., hair color, glasses) in a new movie.

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    1. Wow, you are great! I’m so bad that I’m constantly surprised during TV show when I discover that all these different characters are actually the same person with different hairdos or in different outfits.

      Gosh, I once failed to recognize my own ex-husband when I met him on the subway. That was embarrassing.

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      1. \I’m constantly surprised during TV show when I discover that all these different characters are actually the same person with different hairdos or in different outfits.

        There is a plus in that. You are not distracted by such recognition from the plot, can suspend your disbelief easier and enjoy more than super-recognizers probably can.

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        1. True! I take everything at face value. I’m the perfect viewer. 😀

          As a reader, however, I’m the exact opposite.

          I so envy people who can read visual images like I read texts. Like Cliff Arroyo did with that Norwegian TV show. If it were a written text, I totally would have seen it. But if it’s visual, I see nothing.

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    1. I’m no good with numbers, but I’m very good at personal details. I’ve freaked people out before. ‘No, I didn’t stalk you online. You told me this yourself at a party in 2008!’

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  2. I got 8 out of 14, not very impressive. I might have done a little better if they had done a sample question or two first and/or made it clearer that it’s not timed (I rushed the first couple). But I’m not a super recognizer (I think I do better with body language).

    I have a friend who’s very good at recognizing actors and actresses across genres (and countries and languages, immediately recognizing for example an actress on GoT

    from a Danish tv series) a couple of years before.

    Sometimes I have the opposite problem of not recognizing.
    Once in the 90’s I went back to Poland after about 3 months in the US and the first week or two I kept thinking I was recognizing people for about a week (there are certain recurring phenotypes in bone structure and complexion and that was enough to make me think I knew someone).
    I had the same experience a few years later, but it only lasted a day or so.

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    1. The first 2-3 were OK but then they started showing people from different perspectives, and that did me in. If I have to imagine how one’s profile should look, that’s too much.

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  3. I’ve done face recognition tests before and I was aby0smal at them then. This time, I got 11/14, but I wasn’t really trying to recognize faces, just tracking moles and eyebrow shape. These persist pretty easily through the perspective changes.

    I imagine someone who’s actually good at face recognition would be able to reconstruct the frontal image of a nose from a 3/4 view of face, or something similarly cool.

    If not, it’d be pretty cool to know that all these super recognisers really remember of a face are its eyebrows.

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    1. The only thing that works for me is to describe a person verbally. If I tell myself “straight, long nose”, that makes it possible to recognize a face. But if I dispense with words, it’s hopeless.

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  4. I thought recognizing was easy, but then got “You scored 9 out of 14.”

    Now I understand better how a crime victim may not recognize a perp who attacked them. Still, it’s weird.

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