How do we recognize faces and why some do it better than others?

We can recognize and remember hundreds of faces, but why do some succeed better than others? It is no secret that there are people who are well will recognize and remember faces. They easily recognize the person who was seen only once and very briefly. At the same time, other people experience serious difficulties in memorizing and recognizing faces in everyday situations. These are the two extremes. Most of us is between them. But why are there such huge individual differences? How these abilities affect us and where did they come from? According to recent scientific studies, our ability to recognize and remember individuals depends on the personality type.

In the process of face recognition, the brain in the first place draws attention to gender and age

The contents

How the brain recognizes faces?

The human brain is arranged in such a way that we recognize faces almost instantly. One look and here we have already determined the sign to us that people, male or female, how old he or she is and so on. However, some options our brain determines faster than others.

According to the results of a study published in the journal Nature Communications, primarily the brain determines gender and age. This brain requires about 70 milliseconds. The scientists observed the brain activity during face recognition and found that after 30 milliseconds, the brain recognizes the unique features inherent in each of us. Experts note that these parameters assume quite simple.

But familiar or not, the brain realizes at the last moment. The faces of the people we know, the brain recognizes from any angle and with any hair style. But if we show two pictures of the same person with different hairstyles, the brain will tend to perceive them as two different people. The sequence in the chain of face recognition in the brain is always the same: first, gender, age, emotions, identity, and only then the brain starts to “think” if we sign this or not.

Why do we recognize faces?

Differences in recognition of faces can reflect structural differences in the brain. For example, people with prosopagnosia can be reduced communication between brain regions in the process of face recognition.

Hollywood actor brad pitt suffers from prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia is a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is lost. At the same time, people can distinguish and recognize objects.

The scientists also suggest that the ability of face recognition is associated with General cognitive abilities such as memory or visual processing of information. However, these results are not accurate. Only some studies support the link between facial recognition and specific cognitive abilities. Others study the presence of these relationships is not revealed.

Cognitive skills referred to as higher brain functions is our ability to think, speak, learn. In other words, what cognitive skills make us human.

Another possible explanation lies in the fact that individual differences in face recognition are directly linked to the identity of the person or his social and emotional interaction with others. Interestingly, the ability to recognize faces is associated with severity of anxiety and sympathy.

Not all equally well able to recognize faces

Empathy reflects a person’s ability to understand and share feelings with others. In 2010, the researchers asked volunteers to try to remember the identity of the several persons which they were shown one at a time. Later they were presented the same faces mixed with new faces. Subjects were asked to indicate whether each face “old” (learned) or “new”. The researchers found that those who spoke of himself as a man with a strong capacity for empathy, much better job at face detection than those who had the skills of empathy was not well developed.

Empathy is the ability to empathize with another person and understand his emotional state.

Anxiety and face detection

Specialists agree that the anxiety level affects the ability to recognize faces. So, people experiencing social anxiety worse at it. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that the relationship between anxiety and ability to recognize faces is more common in women.

Situational anxiety can also play a role. For example, face recognition can be disrupted when a witness is asked to try to identify the person of the suspect which he sees in a stressful situation.

More interesting facts about the brain you will find on our channel in Yandex.Zen.

How is personality type and the ability to recognize faces?

Recently we wrote about the differences in brain functioning in people with different personality type. So, scientists came to the conclusion that the brains of extroverts — people who enjoy communication and in General lead a more active social life, different from the brain of introverts — people who prefer to interact with others as little as possible. The differences between introverts and extroverts lies in the reward system — when communicating with introverts and extroverts is the release of different neurotransmitters — dopamine and acetylcholine.

The brains of extroverts and introverts work differently

Thus, for anybody not a secret that extroverts are perfectly versed in social media and more involved in social activities than introverts. Therefore, experts do not exclude that extroverts are more attuned person. In a recent study , researchers gathered data from a group of 20 extrovertion and 23 vysokointensivnykh volunteers (from the initial sample of 339 volunteers). They found that extroverts are much better at face recognition task compared to introverts.

However, scientists do not fully understand the importance and the cause of the findings. It may happen that extroversion contributes to the excellent facial recognition or the fact that people better recognize faces, as a result of becoming more extraordianary.

If so, then the inability of man to learn and recognize faces could lead to the fact that it will become more closed. This will help him to avoid potentially embarrassing social situations. In addition, introverted people in General can meet less people and so can never acquire good skills recognition.

And you well know the person or have some difficulties? Share your stories in comments and our Telegram chat.

In the future, scientists intend to study the impact on the ability to recognize faces of individual factors such as altruism and optimism. Perhaps, soon, experts will discover even more reasons why some of us recognize faces better than others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *