What’s he from? Did he play the bad guy in that film? I know that face!
Watching a movie in my house is clearly fun (although normally I say this stuff in my head). Sometimes it takes a while but I tend to identify the face pretty quickly. I didn’t know until recently that this is an unusual gift and I’m in a small percentage of people who can do it. It comes so naturally that I never thought about it.
Chris, on the other hand, is the opposite. Even after hours of pondering over faces he can’t pick them out of a line up. This is probably handy if you’re thinking of committing a crime in his presence – he’d never know it was you. Apparently I’m what’s known as a ‘super recogniser’ while Chris suffers from ‘face blindness.’ Takes all sorts…
Super recognisers were identified in 2009 by psychologist Richard Russell who stumbled on the phenomenon while studying prosopagnosia – a disorder in which people struggle to recognise faces, even their own. And then Scotland Yard took notice and set up the UK’s first dedicated super recogniser police unit – the perfect marriage of science and service.
Neuroscientists aren’t quite sure why some of us can do this so well, the brain is as elusive as ever. It’s a complex process within the temporal lobe (a region of the brain just above the ear) and sometimes it just works like magic. I can see a face for a fraction of a second and identify it days later. It’s my superpower but I don’t know what to do with it yet, apart from shouting out loudly during movie nights. Who knows, it might reveal its purpose in due time. Shall I contact Scotland Yard?