Are You Any Good at Recognizing Familiar Faces?

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Much has been said about the awkwardness of meeting someone once, and then meeting them a second time — only to embarrass yourself because it’s obvious you’d forgotten about that first introduction. Less, though, has been said about the opposite kind of embarrassment: Memorizing a person’s face in an instant, and being able to recall it later even if you only met once, and briefly at that.

Such is the everyday creepiness of life as a super-recognizer, a term coined by researchers at Harvard and University College London to describe people who are uncommonly skilled at face perception.

You can test your own skill at facial recognition, through this test Science of Us has adapted with permission from University of Greenwich psychologist Josh Davis:

Click here to take the quiz. You will probably do much better than I, only 6.73% of people taking this quiz did worse!

(I have trouble recognizing faces in real life too!)

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4 thoughts on “Are You Any Good at Recognizing Familiar Faces?

  1. 8/14 which it claims is about average, though there seemed to be an awful lot more people above me than below! I wonder why it was all men? Maybe because they all had similar, short hairstyles. And clean shaven. I tend to use hair, glasses, beards as identifiers.

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  2. Nah, I’m not going to do this. I’m not anywhere near a super recognizer. (I heard about this recently. Kinda cool.) I’ll probably rival you for bottom of the scale.

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