You Can Now Take A Test That Tells You If You're A "Super-Recognizer" Of Faces

You Can Now Take A Test That Tells You If You're A "Super-Recognizer" Of Faces

Do you think you have good ability to recognize faces? Take the test and find out!

Are you able to register people's faces clearly in your brain — even those of complete strangers? Do you find a lot of faces that you just can't seem to forget? If so, then you might be a "super recognizer." However, people with this extraordinary ability are said to be super rare. IFL Science reports that Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich in England who actually studies this unique phenomenon, told Yahoo Health that he estimates some one percent of the population could qualify as super-recognizers. According to Davis, super-recognizers have an "exceptional" ability to recognize faces and can often recognize a person even years later after just a fleeting glimpse of their face.


Davis has even come up with a test you can do online to see if you have this special ability. The test takes just 5 minutes of your time. So why not try it? All you have to do is look at different faces for 8 seconds and try to ID a face in a lineup of eight. The test states: Partly due to the success of a few police super-recognizers at identifying a large number of criminal offenders from CCTV images there has been a widespread interest in individuals possessing these exceptional abilities. About 3,000,000 people have attempted this test to see if they possess this skill. Do you?  The face recognition and other cognitive abilities of some of the officers have been tested by Dr. Josh P Davis (Reader in Applied Psychology) at the University of Greenwich, and we are always looking out for other super-recognizers - particularly those not in the police - so that we can find out more about this extraordinary skill. The following test takes about 5 minutes and is really just a bit of fun.There are 14 trials and you will receive your score at the end. If you do very well then you MAY be a super-recognizer and we would be very happy if you would volunteer to take some additional tests after the fun test. There is no obligation to take the additional tests...


Police units in the UK are using super-recognizers to help identify suspects from crime scenes. Many of them have been tested by Davis himself. Davis said he’s hoping his test will help him find more super-recognizers so that he and his team can further investigate the phenomenon. Many other experts are still unsure as to what contributes to this unique ability. Brad Duchaine, who holds a Ph.D., and is an associate professor at Dartmouth College who studies cognitive neuroscience told Yahoo Health that "genetic good luck" may be at play, but says, like other experts, he just isn’t sure. Richard Russell, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, said that "we don’t know" why some people have such phenomenal facial recognition skills, adding, "this is an important but unanswered question."


According to VICE , Kelly Hearsey is one such super recognizer who works for Super Recognizers International Ltd. She shared her story, saying, "I always knew I was good at recognizing faces. I’d be in the street and I’d see a face and know that it was my friend’s sister from when we were six. The last time I saw them could’ve been over 30 years ago. I’d go up to them and say 'Oh my god, Amber, I can’t believe it, how’re you doing?' and she’d look at me blankly. It happened so often that I just thought I took more notice of people and I was completely forgettable. But it turns out that from a tiny millisecond—I don’t even need to get a good look at someone, I can just glance over my shoulder and back again—I’ll know who they are from decades ago."


Speaking of her first job as a super-recognizer, she recounted, "One of the first jobs I had to do was a murder inquiry. Thankfully my huge obsession with true crime has meant that because I knew so much about that kind of thing I could ask the police all sorts of relevant questions and do my own mini-investigation. It led to some really good results for them and new evidence in the case. Since then I’ve done three more high-profile murder investigations." She continued, "Since I qualified and knew this is what I wanted to head for I got trained in surveillance and now I can go out on covert operations and hold my own. I can use covert radios and follow people, follow vehicles, I can help identify people. I found myself on the red carpet once at the National Film and TV Awards. I was watching for some YouTubers that had been threatening to storm the stage again—they’d done that before. So there I was at the top of the red carpet watching out for naughty people while surrounded by television and movie stars [laughs]—that was a cool one!"

Fascinating, isn't it? Do you think you have what it takes?



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