Less Than One Percent of the Population are ‘Super Recognizers’—Take This Test to Find Out If You’re One of Them
As common as it is for someone to claim that they never forget a face, people actually do forget faces pretty often—that is, except for “super recognizers.”
U.K.'s University of Greenwich senior psychology lecturer Dr. Josh Davis told Yahoo that super recognizers can still recall a face years after seeing it for mere seconds, and he estimates that they make up "less than 1 percent of the population."
To find out if you might be one of them, you can try your hand (or eyes, rather) at Davis’s online test here, which only takes about five minutes to finish. In it, you’ll be given eight seconds to study a photo of a face, and then you’ll have to pick that face from a group of eight. Don’t get too confident after the first few trials, though—there are 14 in total, and they’re not all the same level of difficulty.
Taking the test won’t exactly confirm that you’re a member of the elite, but if you score higher than a 10, chances are good that your facial recognition skills are better than the average person.
Since there hasn’t been a ton of research on the relatively new subject of super recognizers, scientists aren’t yet sure what causes such stellar facial recognition in some people. Dartmouth College cognitive neuroscience professor Dr. Brad Duchaine told Yahoo that it could have something to do with “genetic good luck.” He also explained that the uncanny knack might not be specific to recognizing faces; it could extend to cars and other objects.
And acing Davis’s test won’t just grant you the license to truthfully utter “I never forget a face” at bars or Groucho Marx theme parties—it could even jumpstart your career in crime-fighting: Davis told Yahoo that the London police department uses super recognizers to help identify possible suspects from grainy CCTV footage.