People Who Pass This Mental Test Have Superior Face Recognition Ability

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man with facial recognition

Are you one of those people who is always mistaking others for someone else? Or, worse yet, do you have trouble recognizing faces altogether?

You are certainly not alone. In fact, the average person is only able to remember a face 20% of the time.

And about 2.5% of those people suffer from an extreme prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, a cognitive disorder that makes it next to impossible for them to recall and recognize faces that should be familiar.

But 1-2% of us are in a league of our own with superior face recognition abilities. These people, known as "super recognizers," rarely forget a face, recalling them 80% of the time.

And you could be part of that 1-2% of people with amazing face recognition skills.

This mental test determines how well you recognize faces.

TikToker Dan Mirea demonstrates how the "Famous Faces" test works to see if viewers can tell one celebrity face from another when given nothing but their features.



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Mirea shares the faces of famous doppelgängers in images with no hair or other identifying attributes, and asks if his audience is able to differentiate one from the other.

The people he shows are placed side by side with their look-alikes and viewers are asked to decide who is who.

The stars selected are Scarlett Johansson, Barack Obama, Rihanna, and Cristiano Ronaldo. According to Mirea, the inability to tell the difference might indicate you have prosopagnosia.

If you're looking to further test your facial recognition skills, an extended version of the test can be taken at, which consists of two sections.

The first is about recognizing famous faces. The average score is 30/40 correct. The closer you are to getting 40/40, the more likely you are a super recognizer.

The next portion is a face memory test where you are shown a face, then asked to pick it out of a line up repeatedly. The average score is 60/72. If you are near 72/72, you are a super recognizer.

People who score below average are not super recognizers, and anyone who happens to be near the bottom of the range of scoring could have prosopagnosia.

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What is a super recognizer?

A super recognizer is a person who has been blessed with high level facial recognition ability. Their super recognition abilities are off the charts, placing them in their own unique class.

Super recognizers can spot a familiar face better than facial recognition software can in some cases.

It is still not clear why some people have this ability. But scientists believe it may be related to the fusiform face area (FFA) of the brain, a part of our system of vision that is specifically for recognizing faces.

The fusiform face area is a key part of a network used for identifying things that are vary similar to one another. In the cases of faces, it can find subtle differences between two people who have similar facial structures and look alike.

In other words, the FFA is activated when you see a face. It takes the image and sort of runs it through its database, unscrambling the details and determining if it has any familiarity.

Studies have shown a wide gap in people’s abilities to recognize faces.

Those categorized as super recognizers scored well on a perceptual discrimination test. This tells us that their brains can accurately perceive information, even when it is confusing, complex, and fluid.

Those with prosopagnosia, as expected, didn’t do so well, despite having no history of brain damage and normal vision.

How do you know if you are a super recognizer?

There are many recognition tests out there that can tell you how well you recognize faces. These face tests measure how well you recall the faces shown to you and whether you recognize subtle differences.

You can guess if you are a super recognizer by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • Are you able to always recognize celebrities by name when you see them on television?
  • When watching a movie with many characters, can you always keep track of who is who?
  • Are you always able to remember phone numbers long enough to write them down?
  • Do you always recognize familiar landmarks when you see them?

If you were able to answer "yes" to all of these questions, you might be in the rare population of super recognizers.

With the percentage of people who don’t recognize others so high, when you come across someone who should know you but doesn’t, perhaps they are not rude. They are just like almost everyone else.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues