Why Not Recognize the Faces and Names?

You go to a party and you are introduced to a person whose name, they say, is Pedro. You talk around with it and you have to present it to another friend. This is … What was his name? Just fifteen minutes ago you were told his name but do not remember. They spend six months and you find it again. Perfectly recognize your face and remember where you met him. Hello … What was his name? He is man of the world, I said: “I’m Peter.” You may or may not remind you realize that fear never held back and you go again.

It is a common fact that we remember faces better than names . There are several reasons for this. The first is cognitive effort . When you have a face before you decide whether you recognize it or not. When you want to remember a name sought in the memory store. Not a simple yes or no, you should bring to mind a particular name. The first task has a simple yes or no answer while in the second you search for a specific name: Peter.

Furthermore, all the faces are different, but many people share the same name. Although it is actually an advantage. If each person had a different name, our store names would be much greater than it is. Just our brain can not store as many names .

But the main reason is computational and evolutionary in nature. The ability to remember faces is much more powerful and ancient that the power to remember names.

Human language is a very recent evolutionary feature. We do not know if Neanderthals spoke. In any case theage of the language can be estimated at a few hundred thousand years . Say hundred thousand years.And the brain areas involved in language, even as a prodigy, not very large.

Face Recognition

Conversely, the visual areas of the brain are enormous. And are evolutionarily ancient. Macacus Rhesus monkeys and humans we process faces a very similar. investigations indicate that it is a skill that evolved for 30 million years from a common ancestor we share with monkeys (for comparison, remember that dinosaurs became extinct 60 million years).

Recognizing faces is very difficult in what humans are experts. This is not something we do using nonspecific brain areas as computing, chess, reason … We have a particular area of face recognition, an area congenital pre wired . This is because we recognize faces accurately and without haste hinder the other mental operations.That is, in parallel. Although we recognize faces have changed over the years, with makeup, his glasses, his beard, in different lighting conditions, from different angles and in motion. We do very well. You can test your skills in this page .

The effect Thatcher

Why Not Recognize the Faces and Names? 1

It is so named because it was first tested with the face of the British First Lady. Is achieved by taking a photo of a face, cutting his eyes and mouth and pasting face up. If we turn the resulting face and put it upside down (so that the eyes and mouth are in correct position but the rest of the head is turned), is hard to find anything wrong. If instead you put your head in the correct position (and then the eyes and mouth are rotated), the image is shocking. Something is wrong.

Humans perceive this clearly in human faces but not in monkeys. Similarly, monkeys detect it in the faces of their fellows but not in humans.

Both species perceive the faces of our fellow immediately while other species process them differently.

Although conspecific face recognition is performed by means holistic, individual parts such as mouth, nose and eyes as well as the facial proportions are still important.

From an early age we are accustomed to the faces of other humans: a long nose, the curve of the lips or the bushy eyebrows. We learn to recognize the small differences that contribute toward an individual


Prosopagnosia is the inability to recognize familiar faces or known . 
‘s not a unitary phenomenon. It can be congenital or the result of brain damage. It may be perceptual or associative. In some cases people can recognize they have a very striking feature. Sometimes only recognized members of one sex and not the other.

Cases of congenital prosopagnosia are very curious with patients who took years to discover that there was something wrong with them. A lawyer left the profession because they could not convince their customers of their competition: when it came to the trial, did not recognize who was his client. A model discovered she was very pretty when her friends encouraged her to submit to a beauty contest. A painter of portraits with nice backgrounds but no face. A Jew who could not recognize their peers in their community because all dressed alike.

Undoubtedly the best known case is that collected in the fascinating book by Oliver Sacks, ” The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat “.

Also seemed to decide that the visit was over and started looking around looking hat. He reached out and grabbed his wife by trying to put it on his head. He seemed to have mistaken his wife for a hat!She seemed to be accustomed to these mishaps.

Some mnemonic

Make an effort to remember does little. Much more useful is repeated . For example, when you are introduced to Peter, instead of answering “Hello, how are you?, Say” Hello Peter, how are you?

Serves also use associations: Peter Stone, the Angels of Heaven, the victorious Victor, Ana the Anaconda …

And above all, if you suspect your partner does not remember your name, help him : “Hi, I’m Antonio”.


Posted by on October 24, 2012. Filed under Articles, Life Style, Relations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.