Genelle Weule for All in the Mind I was warned the test would be challenging to the point of being uncomfortable. That made me even more determined to give it a go.

After all, I reasoned, I’m a pretty visual kind of person. I don’t really have problems recognising my friends or people I’ve met, sometimes even when they’re out of context.

I can also visualise places I’ve been to only once, and I don’t need a GPS to navigate to a new destination. To find out, I catch up with David White, a cognitive psychologist at the University of New South Wales’ Forensic Psychology Lab.

Dr White studies face recognition, and is specifically interested in people at the top end of the spectrum, so-called super recognisers. Research suggests areas of our brains, such as the fusiform face area in the temporal lobe up behind your ear, are specifically primed to recognise faces.

And cognitive tests indicate it’s harder to identify a photo of a face than an object when it’s turned upside down. There appear to be two different components to this system: the ability to encode a face, and the ability to match it to a person. Read more from…

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