Consider yourself a connoisseur of faces? Reckon you remember the features of complete strangers? Well, you might just be a super-recogniser.
Apparently, around one per cent of the population falls into the category of ‘super-recognisers’. What exactly is a super recogniser, you may be wondering? It’s a term that was coined in 2009 by researchers from Harvard University for people with significantly better-than-average facial recognition ability.
Super recognisers are often able to recognise thousands of faces, despite sometimes only having seen them once, and can even identify a person years after catching just a fleeting glimpse of them.
A study conducted by a neuroscience team at Harvard University looked at four subjects who claimed to have this unusual ability, with one person telling the researchers that she has to hide her special talents.
“I do have to pretend that I don’t remember [people] … because it seems like I stalk them, or that they mean more to me than they do,” she described.
Even police units in the UK have been known to utilise people with this ability to their advantage to help identify suspects from crime scenes.
I look out the cab window & identify faces of strangers, people I don’t know but recognise from the atm, star bazaar, gym..
— misschamko (@ishita_moitra) March 26, 2011
The general population is able to recognise approximately 20 per cent of faces that they’ve seen – a mere speck compared to the impressive 80 per cent recognition rate of that of a super-recogniser.
Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich in England who studies the phenomenon, came up with a brief online test to help people determine whether they have this extraordinary ability.
So do you have what it takes? Take the test here and find out.
I was today years old when I learned people can actually remember and recognise faces and it isn’t just something from movies.
— Kakeslott Inc©®™ (@kakesjot) September 20, 2020