Super-Familiar Faces Have An Extraordinary Ability To Memorize And Remember – Testing Can Help Us Find The Best In The World

While in Paris in the 1990s, Georgie briefly watched as a professional photographer took pictures of children playing in a small park near Les Halles and thought nothing of it.

Ten years later, Byron Bay, Australia, was eating breakfast in his backpack and asked the man next to him if he was a photographer and if he had ever taken pictures of children playing in a Paris park. He was amazed, not only that he was and is, but even showed him a portfolio of real photos he had taken ten years ago.

Coincidences like this will probably be overlooked by most of us, but Georgie has a special ability that only two percent of the world’s population has: he is a very well-known person.

Such people have an extraordinary ability to memorize and remember the faces of people they encountered many years ago, only in the most remarkable and sometimes transient situations.

In a study published today (November 16, 2020) PLOS OnePsychologists from the Forensic Psychology Laboratory at UNSW Sydney claim that the freely available UNSW Face Test, which they have been using since 2017 to determine the world’s best performing super acquaintances, is the perfect choice to rank the best, the best and the best. those who know the exception of the rest of us.

Dr. James Dunn, Scientia Fellow Dr. David White and Dr. Researchers, including Alice Towler, said the UNSW Face Test could give more accurate results when it comes to ranking super-recognizable abilities, especially when used in conjunction with. Available facial recognition tests such as the Glasgow Face Matching Test (GFMT) and the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT).

The UNSW Face Test was deliberately designed by researchers to be very challenging. As a result, unlike other existing tests where candidate performance is evenly distributed on the measurement scale, mid-level performers are at the lower end of the scale.

Of the 31,000 people who took the UNSW Face Test since 2017, none had scored 100 percent – the highest score for anyone – 97 percent. This means that the person with the best facial recognition in the world can be there.

“When people take the UNSW Face Test, they find that it’s very difficult, that most people score between 50 and 60 percent,” says Dr. Dunn.

“But super acquaintances are people who score 70% or more. We made it difficult so that it would not be so easy for the best super acquaintances.

“Super-celebrities reach a maximum of 100 percent when they do traditional face tests, so it’s hard to tell the difference between very good and exceptional.

If someone thought they could be super-recognizable to us, we would start them on the UNSW Face Test and then let them do the confirmation tests and say, “You have to do everything well to be us.” I’m sure you know yourself super ‘.

It’s in the genes

For years, it was thought that facial recognition skills could be taught and help police and security officials to make better judgments about a person’s identity. While this is true to some extent, research has shown that the remarkable abilities demonstrated by superheroes cannot be studied. Researchers think we are coded DNAand very few people have the genetic makeup to develop these extreme abilities.

“The term valuable recognition was developed by researchers in 2009 in response to some exceptional results that people obtained in facial recognition tests,” he says.

Statistically, a “super-recognizable” describes anyone who shows two standard deviations from the average person – in other words, a person who is in the best 1 or 2 percent of the population.

“What we’ve found is that facial recognition changes as naturally as IQ. Like IQ, much of this variation is genetically determined. ”

Facing the facts

UNSW researchers are interested in super-identifiers for two reasons. First, the more scientists learn about superheroes and how their faces work, the more they can decipher what is going on in the brain when they see both familiar and unfamiliar faces.

Second, governments and businesses are increasingly looking for people with superior facial recognition skills.

“We’re starting to see industries looking in and out of super-recognition organizations for the world to work in specialized facial recognition roles,” he says.

“This could include the police, but it could also include government and commercial agencies such as immigration, intelligence agencies, security agencies, financial institutions, and even casinos.”

Something like being a Super-Recognizer

According to research, there are no other common features shared among super-acquaintances other than this ability itself.

Super-acquaintances come from all walks of life and have the same intellectual profiles as the general population.

Although many are unaware that they are super familiar, some have encountered a complexion with their faces that is very good at a young age.

Nicole was 11 years old when she realized in a school competition that her teachers could recognize the faces of all her babies. “When others struggled to find a few faces they knew, I could easily identify all 20 faces. At the time, I thought it was weird, but I felt very cool. ”

Similarly, Wai Yin said he understood super well when he was still a teenager. “Instead of looking at clothes, I looked at magazines and turned people’s faces! I thought it was strange then. ”

For Kelley, he knew he had the skills after sitting on the UNSW Face Test and interacting with researchers. But he adds, “I’ve always been a perfect person and had an extremely abnormal eye for detail in everything.”

Many super-acquaintances start to be interested in gifts while watching TV.

“My husband and I had an argument on TV about someone who looked like someone,” says Jessica. “My husband said he thought he was very good at recognizing faces and found it googled [UNSW] online test. He completed it and reached about 50 percent. ”

“I finished the test and scored much higher and thought better, I am better than my husband in recognizing faces, an automatic victory in this regard! It was not so much [UNSW researchers] contacted me because I realized my account was not in the normal range. After that, I joined many points. ”

Many see the ability as a gift that makes life more interesting or even helps them in their careers.

Duncan says being super-familiar helps with your job. “When you remember them, people are always extremely flattering, or they’re generally pretty shocked when I don’t really meet them in person and only see their pictures on social media.”

However, others who have the gift are a little more careful in exposing it. Marcus said he could make his work very awkward “because I tend to get close to people I remember because I’m social enough, and I soon realize they don’t remember me.”

Sallie relaxes to hide her skills. “I often have to lie that I’ve never seen and never seen before,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. ‘Oh I saw you at Woolworths last week’ sounds like a hunter to you. “

Amanda makes a similar observation. “To people on a daily basis” Hello, we were talking in turn at Coles last week, remember me? “I stopped saying things like that. I just had weird looks and sometimes I started to feel creepy, and I still thought people would recognize me as they knew me.”

In the end, the super-recognition feature can be a mixed blessing, says David. “Being good at recognition comes with problems – sometimes feeling like the world is too small. But it also has its good parts. It allowed me to have a good relationship with customers because I could remember everyone in the leisure industry. ”

We look forward

The team preparing the UNSW Face Test to find super acquaintances, plans to invite many to the laboratory to clearly understand that they are so ‘super’ in the field of face recognition.

Reference: “UNSW Face Test: Super-Recognition Selection Tool” by James D. Dunn, Stephanie Summersby, Alice Towler, Josh P. Davis and David White, November 16, 2020, PLOS One.
DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0241747

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