Do I Know You?
August 29, 2007 8:53 AM   Subscribe

That is a really cool logo.
posted by phrontist at 8:56 AM on August 29, 2007

It's a good thing that I'm not friends with any eyeglasses, otherwise they'd be hell to pay.

That was neat, thanks!
posted by djgh at 9:14 AM on August 29, 2007

posted by jsavimbi at 9:17 AM on August 29, 2007

This confirmed what I knew, I cannot recognize people's faces for shit. I was in the 12th percentile for faces, 50 for objects and 84 for names.
It is an affliction. Sometimes I see customers of mine in the street and they say hi to me and I have no idea who they are. It's very off-putting.
posted by creasy boy at 9:18 AM on August 29, 2007

From the form before the test

Please fill out the form below:

Location: Please Select One
United States/Canada
United Kingdom
Europe, excluding UK
South/Central America

WTF??? What about GEOGRAPHICAL MEMORY? Did no one pay attention when they mentioned Mexico as part of North America? Or at least when they said it *was not* Central America, and *not* South America.


I kind of don't want to take the test anymore, so as not to have to choose "Other". ....grrrr
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:20 AM on August 29, 2007

Also it occurs to me that this test is culturally biased, for example the names were all Anglo-Saxon. I imagine I would flunk any test for Chinese names. And I think it's probably the same deal with faces -- if you grew up in China, probably all white people would look the same to you.
posted by creasy boy at 9:21 AM on August 29, 2007

creasy boy - They mention this at the end of the test, especially with regard to the face recognition. So I guess they're aware of its flaws.
posted by djgh at 9:25 AM on August 29, 2007

I always knew I had a thing for girls with glasses, but this confirmed it.

100% on the eyeglass part
90% on facial recognition and
83% on verbal
posted by FlamingBore at 9:27 AM on August 29, 2007

Presumably your facial memory depends on how many facials you've experienced.
posted by rhymer at 9:27 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

The names mostly had color or other contextual clues to assist with encoding if you picked up on that.

Trying to memorize randomly generated clumps of letters, or names which have little context, provide poor metrics for what they are attempting to measure. It has to be culturally connected in some fashion.

posted by isopraxis at 9:31 AM on August 29, 2007

98% facial recognition
88% object recognition
67% verbal recognition

posted by wsg at 9:32 AM on August 29, 2007

I normally can't recognize faces well, so I am shocked that I am in the 91st percentile for faces; the 88th and 84th percentiles for objects and names, resp., seem more reasonable. Perhaps it was cheating to assign an identity to each face in the first step (Pansy Parkinson! Helen of Troy! Lobelia Sackville-Baggins!). I pulled a similar trick with the glasses (Ted Raimi's! Alan Rickman's!) but I'm not sure how much that helped.
posted by zennie at 9:36 AM on August 29, 2007

92% face, 75% verbal, 82% object, which totally explains why I always refer to folks as "Whatshisname Fatface with those blue or brown shoes".
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:43 AM on August 29, 2007

I was 40th percentile on faces, which fits with my belief that I suck at recognizing people.

I did much better on glasses (84th), but I'd be interested to know how those results change depending on whether the person doing the test wears glasses themselves.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:45 AM on August 29, 2007

Seems my memory exercises are paying off..

100% verbal recognition
98% object recognition
94% facial recognition

Oh, and I wear glasses. And I also suck at recognizing people, or at least associating names with faces. Hence my memory exercises.
posted by splice at 9:48 AM on August 29, 2007

And technically that 98% should have been 100% as I just pressed the button too fast and actually had recognized the glasses...
posted by splice at 9:49 AM on August 29, 2007

20th percentile for faces.

I actually recognize people by their hair. If their hairstyle changes, I stop recognizing them. One time I got lost from my mother while standing right next to her, because she got a perm.

In this test, the people I got right were ones I recognized from the shape of the cut edge of the forehead.
posted by darksasami at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2007

2% object recognition: I'm special!

...or maybe I don't wear glasses and am generally fashion-challenged.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2007

And now that I think about it, I never remember what kind of car any of my friends drive...
posted by kittyprecious at 9:55 AM on August 29, 2007

88th percentile in face recognition
75th percentile in object recognition
10th percentile in verbal recognition

I knew I was bad with names...but apparently i'm very bad indeed.
posted by tiny crocodile at 9:56 AM on August 29, 2007

84th percentile on the verbal, 45th on objects and 28th on faces. That's not actually very surprising-- I did what the test suggested and spoke the names aloud, and I know that I'm much better at memorizing through hearing than through sight. And I already knew that I stink at recognizing faces.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2007

94%, 92%, and 92%. Why can't I memorize telephone numbers?
posted by trip and a half at 9:58 AM on August 29, 2007

2% object recognition: I'm special!

2% on the test? Or 2nd percentile? Because 2 percent on the test would be brutally bad. Way worse than even random chance.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:03 AM on August 29, 2007

68% correct, 2nd percentile.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:08 AM on August 29, 2007

Huh. I think I'm terrible at remembering faces, but I'm actually 48th percentile. Apparently, being terrible at remembering faces is totally typical!
posted by craichead at 10:11 AM on August 29, 2007

Face: 92% (80th pctl)
Object: 82% (35th pctl)
Verbal: 92% (84th pctl)

I'm going to explain the object one away as being very confusing. I'm going to see the targets twice in the run of 50? Wha? I know I clicked yes on a few that I didn't recognize as being from the targets but that I *did* recognize from earlier in the run of 50, so I said yes because I'd seen them twice.

Very strange that average object recognition is slightly higher than average face recognition.
posted by DU at 10:17 AM on August 29, 2007

Also, I think I must have a special impairment: I didn't realize until I read the scoring information that all of the faces were of women!
posted by trip and a half at 10:18 AM on August 29, 2007

those are some of the whitest names I've ever heard.
posted by daHIFI at 10:22 AM on August 29, 2007

64% faces, which is better than I thought I'd do: I didn't realize they were all women either! I just kept wondering why they all had such horrible skin. 94% objects - when you've had glasses yourself since age 6, it's not hard to spot the differences - and 75% names, terrible, I can't believe I did that poorly. Maybe it's just British male names I have trouble with.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:30 AM on August 29, 2007

Wow, I really am bad with faces. I also didn't realize they were all women.

Faces: 62%/1st (!) percentile
Objects: 92%/75th percentile
Verbal: 83%/65th percentile.

I was a little distracted during the test, though. Especially the faces - I kept worrying they wouldn't like me. Jesus.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:32 AM on August 29, 2007

Face Recognition Memory: 84%, 48th percentile
Object Recognition Memory: 94%, 82nd percentile
Verbal Recognition Memory: 83%, 65th percentile

All the results come as a surprise to me. As I took the test I felt sure I was doing extremely poorly. I always felt like I was making wild guesses, with only a few exceptions. When I tried to memorize, I had to resist the urge to quit or just not care. On the initial survey question, I said that I was "much worse than average" in recognizing faces.

So, the 48th percentile, though not good, is still well above what I expected. And I never, ever remember names. And I just couldn't care less about eyeglasses though I freakily scored in the 82nd percentile on that test.

I guess this just shows what already knew but had sort of forgotten before I took the test. I actually have a very good memory (for all kinds of other stuff, I have a much better memory than almost anyone else I know). The only reason I don't remember faces, or hairstyles, or the color of my wife's or SO's eyes, or names of people I meet, is that I don't care. I can't be bothered to remember these things, which is pretty self-centered, actually.

For some reason I care about where people are from/have lived/were born and I always remember that information, even when I've learned it obliquely. I can tell you where a lot of mefites live off the top of my head.

I remember off-the-cuff biographical details of people, details of stories they've told, all sorts of things that most people expect to be forgotten. And yet I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can't remember the eye color of my SO. I got in trouble with this with my wife, and then repeated the mistake with a following SO, even though I had learned that this is a big relationship faux pas. When I did learn that SO's eye color, it was by way of a mnemonic, not that her eye color itself had any meaning to me.

I've always worried that I'd be witness to a crime and be asked by police to describe someone. I can't describe what people look like at all, I mostly can't picture people's faces in my mind's eye, even though I have excellent mental imagely skills. I don't remember what color people's hair color is. I can tell you if someone is unusually tall or short, skinny or fat, or has unusually short or long hair. Otherwise, nada.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:34 AM on August 29, 2007

Also it explains why I always get confused during movies with more than one character of the same gender and ethnicity.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:37 AM on August 29, 2007

Regarding some people's surprise at their high scores in some areas: i am terrible with faces (once failed to recognize my ex-wife, for instance, after she'd had a new hairdo), but scored only slightly lower than average (48 %ile). To me this suggests that one might perform better on the test than "in the field" for a couple of reasons. For instance, I suspect I am bad at faces because I just don't pay attention to them, and the test forced me to pay attention. On the other hand, one thing i AM good at is taking tests. So in general I'd expect my results on this test to be better than actual experience. If this applied equally to everyone, the results might still be normative, but of course it doesn't.
posted by ubiquity at 10:51 AM on August 29, 2007

Face: 98%
Object: 100%
Verbal: 100%

Clearly, I am some kind of freak of nature. But I was also trying actively to remember what I was reading, which might maybe affect it in an unrealistic way. I probably should have just blown through them. Because I really am not so good with faces.
posted by mckenney at 10:59 AM on August 29, 2007

You people astonish me. I was in the 4th and 5th percentile in facial and object recognition, respectively, and I put in a serious effort. That verbal recognition test? I nailed that thing, placing me solidly in the 48th percentile.

I also was surprised that the faces shown were allegedly only those of women. Some of the stand-out faces for me were those I recognized as "grizzled lantern jaw guy," "frightened Marty Feldman," and "baby Yul Brenner." Some of those facial types were radically outside my experiences.
posted by majick at 11:29 AM on August 29, 2007

I was thinking about the faces when I took the test, "Man, you sure can tell this is UK-centric."
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:33 AM on August 29, 2007

Jesus. 4th percentile on faces, 70th- or 80th-something on objects, 93rd (100%) for names.

Apparently, I really and truly suck at recognizing faces.

Majick: Yeah, I thought half those faces were male too!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:54 AM on August 29, 2007

48th percentile on faces, 90th percentile on objects, 84th percentile on names.

The facial recognition score is much better than I expected; when I first started watching movies it took me about a year before I could consistently tell Al Pacino from Dustin Hoffman.
posted by Tuwa at 12:14 PM on August 29, 2007

Geeze. I just found my results again, and it turns out that I had misremembered a score -- I got 88% on object memory, giving me a percentile of 55 (not 70-80, like I thought).

Dere's some irony dere.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:15 PM on August 29, 2007

This is an interesting test. It tends to confirm my suspicion that we all navigate slightly different worlds, based on how our brain decides to work. I scored 40/55/100th percentile. Maybe the reason I like Metafilter is that I'm quite comfortable navigating in a sea of words.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:26 PM on August 29, 2007

Er, 40 - faces, 55 - object, 100- verbal, if anyone cares.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:26 PM on August 29, 2007

Speaking of Dustin Hoffman, I have a theory that people start to look alike as they get older. For example.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2007

Face Recognition Memory: 80%, 28th percentile
Object Recognition Memory: 88%, 55th percentile
Verbal Recognition Memory: 67%, 25th percentile

This doesn't seem promising...
posted by maxwelton at 12:38 PM on August 29, 2007

I wonder why the faces were black & white.
posted by Feisty at 12:41 PM on August 29, 2007

90% face 88% object 58% name

with my inner voice saying "fuck it, don't go to work" i think i did pretty good on the name one.
posted by andywolf at 12:51 PM on August 29, 2007

I have a feeling that those faces are compositions of pieces of participants' faces, and that they mix and match tops and bottoms to throw you off. Making them black and white would make this far easier to do. I could be wrong. I did far better in object recognition, and am not very proud of my 48% percentile verbal score.
posted by hanoixan at 2:00 PM on August 29, 2007

92% / 94% / 92%

I expected to do a lot worse. Clearly I need to put in as much effort in real life as I do for online tests.
posted by hindmost at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2007

I rocked names - which makes some sense, except that pairing names to faces was not tested, which makes it easier for me. Could I tell you what John Adjectivenoun. looked like? Probably not. But I can tell you I know the name John Adjectivenoun. (Or Bill Nounverb. Those were damn easy last names.)

As for the glasses, which I also rocked? Bunnies. Oh, that's scientist bunny's pair. That's artist-bunny's pair. And so on.

Faces...hell, isn't it known that people really recognise people via hairstyle and so on more than actual faces? Right? Stupid floating heads. I kept thinking of them as nuns, or guys in nun-drag. And since all of them look alike, I was screwed on that test.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:04 PM on August 29, 2007

Face Recognition Memory: 94%, 84th percentile
Object Recognition Memory: 98%, 90th percentile
Verbal Recognition Memory: 100%, 93rd percentile
posted by Azaadistani at 3:44 PM on August 29, 2007

77% facial
88% object
92% verbal

I had two typos on the Verbal, so that should have been closer to 98%

apparntly, I too fail at recognizing faces. I dont even try, for the most part. I think I focus on the fatness of the face and the nose, so if people have similar fat and noses, Ill confuse them.
posted by subaruwrx at 4:08 PM on August 29, 2007

Holy crap I just got 1st percentile on the face thing. I knew I wasn't particularly good at recognizing people but jeez.
posted by revfitz at 7:00 PM on August 29, 2007

Face, 92%
Object, 86%
Verbal, 83%

This doesn't change the fact that I have been at my job for eight months and there are two attorneys here that I cannot tell apart. I know that one is named Ray and one is named Stu, but I don't know which is which.
posted by Lucinda at 7:04 PM on August 29, 2007


My boyfriend constantly insists my ability to remember faces and evaluate likenesses between faces is uncanny. (I think my voice recognition is particularly stellar though. Have you ever noticed how similar Noam Chomsky and Owen Wilson sound? Have you, have you?)

I also was surprised that the faces shown were allegedly only those of women. Some of the stand-out faces for me were those I recognized as "grizzled lantern jaw guy," "frightened Marty Feldman," and "baby Yul Brenner." Some of those facial types were radically outside my experiences.

Me too. I remembered a lot of them for being "the guy with the jowels" and "sort of butchy, maybe a dyke? I don't know, maybe a guy...wait, this isn't helping you remember, notice a determining characteristic quick!"
posted by birdie birdington at 12:59 AM on August 30, 2007

face: 2 %ile
object: 50%ile
verbal: 65 %ile

Pretty much as soon as the face one started I felt like I was pressing yes/no essentially at random... this ties in with my RL experience.
posted by primer_dimer at 4:37 AM on August 30, 2007


Ethereal Bligh: I was thinking about the faces when I took the test, "Man, you sure can tell this is UK-centric."

How? The teeth aren't showing in any of them.
posted by Myeral at 6:51 AM on August 30, 2007

88% face, 76% object (14th percentile), 92% verbal.

This doesn't really surprise me. I've always had a blind spot about objects. If I had to describe a car involved in an accident it would go something like "It was a four door, or maybe a two door, sedan, or a station wagon, or one of those smallish SUV things, gray, or blue. Well, I know it had four tires!" I can't even tell you the color of our carpets without looking.
posted by desjardins at 7:06 AM on August 30, 2007

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