Super-recognizers never forget a face

They need to focus on it only once to instantly recognize it again, even if they encounter it years later, and sometimes even if they see only one feature, such as the eyes.

They also can get a pretty good idea of what a face looks like in profile if they initially see it straight on. Most ordinary people see faces differently. Their brains take a frontal facial snapshot, which usually is how they remember it — if they can remember it at all.

“Super-recognizers definitely have an extraordinary skill that scientists have only been investigating in the last few years,” says Josh Davis, professor in applied psychology at the University of Greenwich in London, and a super-recognizer expert. “We are only just learning about how they do it.”

Super-recognizers belong to an elite group — experts estimate their numbers at less than 2 percent of the population — and are at the top end of a facial cognition spectrum that includes prosopagnosia, or “face blindness,” or exceptionally poor facial recognition, at the bottom.

“Society operates under the assumption that everybody is about the same at recognizing faces, and that everyone sees the world in the same way,” says Richard Russell, professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, and an author of a 2009 paper that first described the existence of super-recognizers. “That simply is not true.”


Waukesha Killings Make the Media Colorblind Again

Jason Riley writes for the Wall Street Journal

People who are interested in a postracial America don’t name their organization Black Lives Matter or welcome racial propaganda like the “1619 Project” into elementary schools. They don’t advocate racial preferences in college admissions or racial quotas in hiring. And they don’t call for white people who were never slaveholders to pay reparations to black people who were never slaves.

2 thoughts on “Super-recognizers never forget a face”

  1. I have read that some see the Journal as biased. I/we have been reading it since I was 25. I can’t see any bias except to facts. Those same people say the Opinion page is not biased. I see it as tilted to sanity. Anyway, Jason Riley is on the Ed staff. Being black I suppose he off the plantation with his views.

Comments are closed.