Sunday, May 24, 2009

'Super-recognizers,' with extraordinary face recognition ability, never forget a face

I'm in the face-blind category. I took the test at, and couldn't see a difference between all those faces. Nothing I didn't already know, of course. And I don't remember names either. But I do remember people's stories, and their voices.

Public release date: 19-May-2009
Contact: Amy Lavoie
Harvard University

Research suggests that face recognition may vary more than previously understood

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 19, 2009 – Some people say they never forget a face, a claim now bolstered by psychologists at Harvard University who've discovered a group they call "super-recognizers": those who can easily recognize someone they met in passing, even many years later.

The new study suggests that skill in facial recognition might vary widely among humans. Previous research has identified as much as 2 percent of the population as having "face-blindness," or prosopagnosia, a condition characterized by great difficulty in recognizing faces. For the first time, this new research shows that others excel in face recognition, indicating that the trait could be on a spectrum, with prosopagnosics on the low end and super-recognizers at the high end.

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