« New Advance in Smartphones | Main | Vocabulary: Eye AF and Related Terms »

Wednesday, 03 April 2019


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wow, wait till they make a camera that can look into your soul.

These things are usually probabilistic, be terrible if you're out there past the third standard deviation but the jury takes the camera's word over yours. Good luck trying to explain statistics to them.

The camera merely makes out a face or an eye, not the actual person’s identity. Lightroom and Apple Photos still mess up real face recognition, which is on a whole other level than what us consumers endure.

What is the dual to prosopagnosia? That is, what do you call it if most people never remember your face, for whatever reason.

Canon used to have eye focus i.e. it focused where you were looking. Saved all that focus/move frame nonsense. This was in the dark ages of LOW TECH cameras that used film.

Nice to have a proper word for what I've been calling "facial aphasia."

I rely on a small set of distinctive features to aid recognition, something I think of as an editorial cartoonist memory. Once, when my sister-in-law arrived at a family gathering, I didn't recognize her. She had changed her hair style to include bangs. When she pushed her hair up and off her forehead, recognition immediately snapped into place.

Google Photos is a super recognizer. It can instantly find anyone, including a specific pet, among tens of thousands of photos. It can also find just about any object. It automatically creates categories that you can browse through.

I gave up on categorizing and tagging photos long ago. I just tell it to show me my photos of someone or of bridges or coyotes (it has never mistaken a dog for a coyote or vice versa) or almost anything else. Amazingly impressive.

On “age-related trouble with names” that Mike mentions above, I think I have that but I also have an iPhone ;-) . Usually when I meet someone and cannot remember their name I do remember some other thing about them like wife’s name or part address or their organisation and so on, and since I put these sorts of things in my contact list on the phone I can usually retrieve their name. Of course I haven’t truly forgotten their name because I recognise it as being correct so it’s more a matter of retrieval from memory.

I'm a super recognizer, and it can drive me absolutely batty, because I often don't know whether an approaching person is someone I've simply met from my son's school, or whether it's a person that I saw randomly in a crowd three years ago. I've learned the "nice to see you greeting" as a safeguard, but it's always a little awkward. I'm awful with names, so that doesn't help.

Interestingly, the portrait artist Chuck Close has prosopagnosia. I used to be a portrait photographer, and I'm not sure whether being a super recognizer was an advantage or hindrance for that kind of work.

I met my wife at school; years later we'd cross people in the street or wherever and she'd say look, that's so-and-so from school! I never had a clue who they were.

All my business life I suffered from the absolute inability to remember the name of someone to whom I had just been introduced. Now, not a thing has changed other than that I forget the names of people who are part-time residents here in Spain and have been neighbours for almost forty years.

As a kid I loved New Orleans jazz, and could recite the band members of several Armstrong groupings such as the Hot Five and Hot Seven as well as a list of others. Today, I may recognize a name, but wouldn't bet the ranch on knowing with whom he played most. Or even which instrument. A further complication is seeing somebody, being convinced that I recognize them, but not having the slightest idea of from where and under which circumstances. They often turn out to have been folks I see regulary in the supermarket, serving in a bar or behind the counter at the postoffice. Life is a friggin' minefield of unintended slights!

It could just be lack of use or perhaps dying cells. As for birthdays and anniversaries....

I have a problem recognizing people sometimes so my default is to “recognize” people who act as though they expect me to recognize them, especially if they seem familiar. The only problem is when you live in NYC they means you think you think you are chatting with one of your children’s friends in the cashier line at B&H desperately trying to figure out who they are and then realize you are talking to Lady Gaga.

Mike, it seems that the link to the youtube video goes to a point a couple of minutes *after* he talks about that focus, so it took me a long while to locate it (a couple minutes into the video.)

That eye focus is astonishing.

Perhaps off topic but here’s a video on people with perfect memory. Not the same as photographic memory. Marilou Henner from “Taxi” has it. Pretty wild.


[I've seen that, and I loved it. I had a friend who was like that. He could remember things about me (from high school) that would only come back to me slowly, hours after he had given me all the details. Sadly he died a few years back. --Mike]

I rarely forget the face but often cannot attach it to a name.

I'm hopeless on faces. If someone I have met two days before turns up wearing different clothes or in a different setting, I haven't a clue who they are, or even if I have seen them before. It can be very embarrassing.

And yet I can see a photo I took ten years ago, and instantly recall where the subject is and the circumstances under which I took it.

I'm a misanthrope (two bit word of the day). I've never remembered names (why would I?). When I meet someone whose nameless face I recognize, I just say ese (Mexican Spanish for dude). Works for me here in SoCal.

Thirty years ago I worked for an independent construction contractor named Dan. Wherever we went in the city, Dan invariably ran into someone he knew, and continued the conversation he last had with them.
Once, Dan pulled the van over and called out to an older man walking along the road, saying "Aren't you ---". The man admitted to being that person, and asked Dan who he was. Dan explained he had been looking through his father's high school yearbook a few weeks before, and saw that man's picture there.

I have had prosopagnosia for many years. it has caused me many embarrassments over the years and given me the reputation of being aloof or worse.

Almost as irritating is that I can recognize someone I've seen in films or on TV instantly when I see them in real life even if I don't know their name which is often the case. Also, if I've seen a good photo of someone's face I can usually recognize them when I see them in the flesh. There must be a good Latin or Greek name for this opposing affliction.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007