Are you bad with facial recognition??

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Jayo
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16 Nov 2014, 5:14 pm

I don't mean recognizing facial expression, but recognizing people's faces, period.

This is something that I've gotten better at with time, and even when I wasn't, it was inconsistent. As a kid, I remember weird stuff like my Dad would stop at a red light with me in the back of the car, and the guy stopped behind me was my old scoutmaster who I waved at, and he waved back with a smile, ostensibly recognizing me.

However, overall my facial recognition was bad. Even my current wife, when I went out on a second date with her almost a decade ago, I at first didn't recognize her, and I found (and still find) her beautiful!! :D and in university, there was several times where I'd get into a "false positive" where I approached somebody asking if they were so-and-so, and they said 'no' (at least once this was said angrily) and I also had "false negatives", where I thought when seeing somebody nearby, Nahh...that's not Joe or Jane, and it DID turn out to be Joe or Jane, who thought I was being rude or arrogant :?

I can also recall instances where I literally walked by one of my friends or acquaintances in a shopping mall - people I'd just seen recently and I looked in their direction but didn't seem to "click" in my brain. Then to juxtapose that, I've also seen and recognized people in malls that I'd not seen in years. One time I even spotted an old friend of mine, who was of Asian ancestry, and I recognized him bang-on - not bad eh, if he was Asian, right? (my intent isn't to be racist, but to make a point of my recognition capacity, because the odds were against me there.)

The one area where I do have a challenge, and I think a lot of people do, is seeing someone in adulthood that you hadn't seen since childhood. One time in a bar/club, at the age of 25, I ran into this guy Adam who I was friends with in Grade 6 - and hadn't seen him since about the grade after (at the age of 12), he recognized me and said so...it was kind of surreal that he said my first and last name, and I had no clue who he was, then he told me and I was like "REALLY"??? 8O he was nothing like how I remembered him. He did apologize however for going along with bullying me later in Grade 6 and 7, and said the kids who led & participated in the bullying were insensitive a-holes and that I didn't deserve what they put me through. (I still keep in touch with him every now and then; he's moved away).

Let's face it, we do get into some weird coincidences in life - not quite Seinfeld-esque (and please, nobody hijack this thread by going on a tangent about Seinfeld saying he might have autism :P ) - and run into somebody who lives in another city and you were visiting, or you see them in an airport or on a bus or whatever some day, do you recognize them - or vice-versa??

I predict this thread will turn out to be very lively and full of fun stories!! ! :D



Zajie
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16 Nov 2014, 5:26 pm

This reminds me of many things that happened to me similarly but no stories happened xD
I never recognize someone I know if I saw them somewhere and I tend to forget people's faces or not pay attention and sometimes I don't see them so they tell me when I see them at school or somewhere that they saw me while I have no clue that we even were at the same place lol xD



Jayo
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16 Nov 2014, 5:47 pm

Zajie wrote:
This reminds me of many things that happened to me similarly but no stories happened xD
I never recognize someone I know if I saw them somewhere and I tend to forget people's faces or not pay attention and sometimes I don't see them so they tell me when I see them at school or somewhere that they saw me while I have no clue that we even were at the same place lol xD


HA HA!! Yes, I've encountered this more than once - in fact, one time was when I was 14 this girl from school who I was sort of friends with told me at school the next day that she saw me at the local mini-mall and called out "Jayo" a few times, and that I looked around, at one point looking right in her direction, then gave up and walked away, not knowing who it was 8O very autistic-like...



dianthus
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16 Nov 2014, 5:57 pm

Jayo wrote:
...there was several times where I'd get into a "false positive" where I approached somebody asking if they were so-and-so, and they said 'no' (at least once this was said angrily) and I also had "false negatives", where I thought when seeing somebody nearby, Nahh...that's not Joe or Jane, and it DID turn out to be Joe or Jane, who thought I was being rude or arrogant :?


Yep. I've been in both scenarios, more often the latter though, the false negative. I will see someone I know but be unable to decide if it's really them or not. Then by the time I've convinced myself it's not, they finally speak to me and seem miffed that I haven't spoken to them yet.

In the false positive scenario, I am so unsure of my ability to recognize people, that I won't even go up to someone and ask if they are that person. I will just keep looking them over trying to figure it out. Sometimes I look at people like I recognize them and they give me a sort of puzzled look back.

I have trouble recognizing people I know outside of the context I normally see them, like if I see someone shopping who works as a clerk at another store, I get totally confused. I have occasionally been unable to recognize a family member if we got separated while shopping, but only relatives I don't see on a regular basis.

When I do recognize someone, sometimes I have a lot of trouble figuring out where I know them from, or remembering their name. Sometimes I can't figure out if I went to school with someone, or used to work with them.

And some people I don't recognize, because I just don't remember anything about them. They remember me, and they know my name, but I don't remember them at all.

The weird thing is that on those facial recognition tests, I don't have any trouble whatsoever recognizing celebrities (unless it's someone I've never seen or heard of before). I get every one of them right.

I don't have any trouble recognizing images of people in movies or magazines or on websites. I just have trouble recognizing faces in real life. I wonder my brain has a problem with 3d rendering?



RetroGamer87
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16 Nov 2014, 6:04 pm

Yeah, I get this problem a lot. I can be fine if I'm in a small group, not too many people to remember. It's really bad if I meet someone "out of context", that is to say, not where I usually meet them. In those cases it can sometimes be the case where I'm 90% sure I recognize someone but don't say anything because I still have that 10% doubt. So then it turns out it was them and they either think I'm daft or rude.

Or within a large group of one or two dozen I get to the point where I know everyone by face but not by name. And I didn't used to have that problem. When I was in single digit ages I could remember names and faces very easily. I took it for granted that I knew everyone* in class by face and name but then on the first day of year 5, I was shocked when very suddenly I could only remember three students names. This happened when I'd completed a science project and I had to take questions from the class. Many put their hands up but I only took questions from those three because I had to address them by name, the other students got really frustrated I wasn't taking their questions and the teacher couldn't work out why I was acting so strangely.

So I guess somethings this sort of thing can have a sudden onset. I think I was very different in childhood. I had abilities back then that I don't have now (more outgoing, much smarter than my peers, etc. It all went south when I got to middle school. I became reserved and by high school I was dumber than my peers :( I guess NTs have a dramatic increase of intelligence during adolescence but for me, it felt like when I was 8 I was as smart as a 13 year old and when I was 17 I was still as smart as a 13 year old.

*I couldn't quite name everyone in class, in year 1 there were these identical twins and everyone could tell them apart but me. Even to this day I don't know how everyone else cold do it.



Zajie
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16 Nov 2014, 6:17 pm

Jayo wrote:
Zajie wrote:
This reminds me of many things that happened to me similarly but no stories happened xD
I never recognize someone I know if I saw them somewhere and I tend to forget people's faces or not pay attention and sometimes I don't see them so they tell me when I see them at school or somewhere that they saw me while I have no clue that we even were at the same place lol xD


HA HA!! Yes, I've encountered this more than once - in fact, one time was when I was 14 this girl from school who I was sort of friends with told me at school the next day that she saw me at the local mini-mall and called out "Jayo" a few times, and that I looked around, at one point looking right in her direction, then gave up and walked away, not knowing who it was 8O very autistic-like...

Hahaha I had this time when a girl at school saw me at a mall and shouted 'school' at me, it took me time to realize its her lol
I know this is a little off topic but I also can't realize when people are calling me or talking to me, if someone is calling me I won't be sure that they're calling me but at the same time I know they're calling me lol I always have 'ignoring everything' behavior like people call it xD



NoGyroApproach
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16 Nov 2014, 7:11 pm

Yes I have this. It is called Prosopagnosia or Face Blindness. The medical community has known about it as something that happens to a person after a traumatic brain injury but have only recently (I think with in the last 10 years or so) have been studying people who are born with this.

I was born with prospagnosia. It took me until I was about 35 before I realized what the problem was. I always thought I was just bad with names. I have created many little tricks to figure out a person by asking questions and the process of elimination but this only works one on one. Not with a group. When I was 35 I was put in charge of about 50 people for a volunteer group. Each week I needed to organize them and assign them to various tasks that need to be done. I figured I was going to make a real ass out of myself if I didn't get this "not remembering peoples names" thing figured out so I researched "how to remember peoples names" on the internet. I realized all of the tips assumed you knew their face but just forgot the name. I quickly realized that was not the problem so I searched "I can't recognize a persons face" and that is how I discovered face blindness or prosopagnosia.

As I was reading about prospagnosia, I kept coming across references that stated "Many people with prosopagnosia are autistic or have aspergers" That is when I wondered "What the heck is autism and aspergers?" This is when the doors of understanding my life REALLY began to open. Wow.

That's my story. How about you guys?


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dianthus
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16 Nov 2014, 8:18 pm

Zajie wrote:
I know this is a little off topic but I also can't realize when people are calling me or talking to me, if someone is calling me I won't be sure that they're calling me but at the same time I know they're calling me lol I always have 'ignoring everything' behavior like people call it xD


I'm like that too. When people call out to me or talk to me from more than a few feet away I never feel sure if they are talking to me or not. People do that a lot in my job and I've learned to just force myself to assume that they are and respond anyway but it feels really weird and I hate it.

But sometimes I just ignore people unless/until they walk up closer to me because I don't like to be yelling out across a big space. I have a hard enough time understanding what people say if they are right in front of me.

Sometimes a person will tell me they were calling out to me trying to get my attention, but I was just in my own little world and didn't hear them. I wonder how often that happens and I never even know it because no one tells me.



auntblabby
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16 Nov 2014, 10:07 pm

I've had enough mortifying episodes of being confronted by people who knew me well but that I could not distinguish from a hole in the ground. NO MORE! Image



Luzhin
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17 Nov 2014, 12:07 am

I am terrible at recognizing faces. People I know will smile, wave and even come up and speak with me and I realize I should know them but don't have a clue as to who they are.

People out of place really mess me up. My doctor outside of his office, a teacher outside of a classroom, etc. I will smile and wave back to them and then turn to my wife and say, 'who is that?' or 'do I know them?'.



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17 Nov 2014, 12:09 am

Luzhin wrote:
I am terrible at recognizing faces. People I know will smile, wave and even come up and speak with me and I realize I should know them but don't have a clue as to who they are.

People out of place really mess me up. My doctor outside of his office, a teacher outside of a classroom, etc. I will smile and wave back to them and then turn to my wife and say, 'who is that?' or 'do I know them?'.

when I worked in a hospital, I routinely would fail to recognize fellow employees outside of their uniforms or scrub attire, when they came in on their days off or as patients themselves. I offended more than a few that way, unintentionally. :oops:



Luzhin
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17 Nov 2014, 12:21 am

auntblabby wrote:
Luzhin wrote:
I am terrible at recognizing faces. People I know will smile, wave and even come up and speak with me and I realize I should know them but don't have a clue as to who they are.

People out of place really mess me up. My doctor outside of his office, a teacher outside of a classroom, etc. I will smile and wave back to them and then turn to my wife and say, 'who is that?' or 'do I know them?'.

when I worked in a hospital, I routinely would fail to recognize fellow employees outside of their uniforms or scrub attire, when they came in on their days off or as patients themselves. I offended more than a few that way, unintentionally. :oops:


Yep, been there. :) Used to seeing people dressed in suits and ties and then see them at a picnic. As far as I'm concerned, they are new people I've never met before. Thank goodness my wife goes everywhere with me so she can let me know,'oh, here comes (name)'. Though my response many times is 'seriously?'....because it's just hard to believe.



auntblabby
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17 Nov 2014, 12:32 am

Luzhin wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
Luzhin wrote:
I am terrible at recognizing faces. People I know will smile, wave and even come up and speak with me and I realize I should know them but don't have a clue as to who they are.

People out of place really mess me up. My doctor outside of his office, a teacher outside of a classroom, etc. I will smile and wave back to them and then turn to my wife and say, 'who is that?' or 'do I know them?'.

when I worked in a hospital, I routinely would fail to recognize fellow employees outside of their uniforms or scrub attire, when they came in on their days off or as patients themselves. I offended more than a few that way, unintentionally. :oops:


Yep, been there. :) Used to seeing people dressed in suits and ties and then see them at a picnic. As far as I'm concerned, they are new people I've never met before. Thank goodness my wife goes everywhere with me so she can let me know,'oh, here comes (name)'. Though my response many times is 'seriously?'....because it's just hard to believe.

AFAIC one is fortunate to have a wife :)



Luzhin
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17 Nov 2014, 12:40 am

Auntblabby: Yes, I am indeed very fortunate. She has been my saving grace. Without her I would be wandering around the streets (since I don't drive) looking for people I recognize...which would be a futile endeavor.



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17 Nov 2014, 12:44 am

Yep, seeing people with different clothes or hair will throw me off too.

Plus if two people look a lot alike (such as two brothers or sisters) if I don't see them side by side I may have a hell of a time telling them apart or remembering which is which.

I didn't realize how much of a problem I have recognizing people, until my current job as a sales rep. I often introduce myself to people who have already met me.



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17 Nov 2014, 12:49 am

dianthus wrote:
Zajie wrote:
I know this is a little off topic but I also can't realize when people are calling me or talking to me, if someone is calling me I won't be sure that they're calling me but at the same time I know they're calling me lol I always have 'ignoring everything' behavior like people call it xD


I'm like that too. When people call out to me or talk to me from more than a few feet away I never feel sure if they are talking to me or not. People do that a lot in my job and I've learned to just force myself to assume that they are and respond anyway but it feels really weird and I hate it.

But sometimes I just ignore people unless/until they walk up closer to me because I don't like to be yelling out across a big space. I have a hard enough time understanding what people say if they are right in front of me.

Sometimes a person will tell me they were calling out to me trying to get my attention, but I was just in my own little world and didn't hear them. I wonder how often that happens and I never even know it because no one tells me.

Me as well. If I'm in a group and the instructor asks me a question without referring to me by name I'll wonder if he's looking at me or someone a few degrees to the left or right of me or someone sitting behind me, etc.
auntblabby wrote:
I've had enough mortifying episodes of being confronted by people who knew me well but that I could not distinguish from a hole in the ground. NO MORE! Image

Yeah, and sometimes with me it's not just that I've forgotten their name, it's not just that I've forgotten their face but in some cases I forget who they are. In mild cases I'll forget their name but not their face, in severe cases I'll forget their face as well but when put into context I think "Oh, now I remember that guy" but in very severe cases I forget all sense of their personhood. An example of this? When I was about 11 I said something mean to some random girl in class and she sounded very hurt and said "I was the only one who stood up for you". I thought "did she? When? Who is she anyway?" Later I felt a bit guilty about that.