Match Frame

Thoughts from an American editor and filmmaker in New Zealand about film and video production and post-production. Plus whatever else I feel like talking about.

Location: Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand

A work in progress.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


As part of my ongoing obsession with neurology, I've been watching lots of documentaries, and have seen now multiple references to the condition of faceblindness.

I've always felt really bad with faces - I have what I consider to be a difficult time identifying people outside of context, if they change the color of their hair, in substantially different wardrobe, that sort of thing. I'm pretty confident there's more than one person that considers me to be an arrogant jerkwad because I've ignored them in public. Even when I was a kid watching movies, I'd sometimes get confused if there was more than one character that was same height, build, and hair color. The truth is, the face just doesn't click with me like it does for some.

I've never considered myself to truly suffer from prosopagnosia*, to be fair - I usually get there in the end. And there are people who have much worse ability than I do. And, until today, I didn't even have verifiable evidence that anything was wrong, really. Just a gut hunch - but how do you compare your facial recognition with other people's?

Answer: the Cambridge Facial Recognition Test. Googling brought me to that site, which I've had open for a while but given that it requires 20 minutes of uninterruptedness, have avoided using until today.

A score of 80% is expected. Below a 65% indicates you might have problems.

I got a 51%.

While there's lots of caveats about low scores not guaranteeing faceblindness and high scores not guaranteeing you don't have a problem, it certainly coincides with my self-diagnosis.

I would, however, be curious to know how other friends rate, as one random Internet test is hardly a complete proof of anything.

*No, I didn't know that word until today, and my ability to even remember how to spell it is about as good as my memory of faces.


Blogger Scout Seventeen said...

I have similar problems recognizing people I have met only a few times, or recognizing people I know casually when I see them outside of their surroundings. I once introduced myself to a boy, and he informed me that we had met twice before.

People often think I'm a jerk because of this, or assume I'm too self-involved to pay attention to others. I honestly try REALLY had to remember faces, and go so far as to find something interesting or odd to hang on to visually. Alas, it rarely works.

I don't think I have face blindness, but there is some anecdotal correlation between difficulty recognizing faces and ADHD. I discovered that recently, and felt mildly vindicated.

I scored a 69%.

25/6/10 1:34 PM  
Blogger Scout Seventeen said...

I should also mention that I will occasionally see pictures of myself, or catch a glimpse of my reflection in a storefront or something, and I won't recognize it as myself. That's a weird feeling, but luckily I can remember what I wore out of the house that day!

25/6/10 1:36 PM  
Blogger J. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27/6/10 3:28 AM  
Blogger J. said...


I should note, probably, that I'm actually surprised I didn't get closer to 100%. Maybe I'll take it again later when I haven't just woken up.

27/6/10 3:31 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

96%. Thought it should be pretty good. I'm always amazed when I can recognize people whom I don't know very well years later. It almost seems like magic the way the brain can create an emotional connection to a face with minimal consistent data.

Attention and focus is where I fall down.

27/6/10 9:34 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

Just stumbled across this very timely link:

30/6/10 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Simon Hyland said...

I tried twice to do this test but got interrupted 15 minutes into it both times. Having gotten so far twice I'm sure my results would be skewed anyway so I'm giving up there. Even without a final score I'm never claiming to be bad with faces again, it was all surprisingly easy. Interesting stuff, I would not have guessed that about myself.

6/7/10 12:52 PM  

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