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Tanaqui

Cambridge Face Memory test

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I took this test for kicks and was utterly unsurprised to score 39. (The average person apparently scores around 80, and a score under 60 "may indicate" some degree of faceblindness.)

Then I sent it to my sister, and she was a little shocked to see that she only scored 71! My results - not shocking. Hers - very much so. And she asked how my other friends did, to which I pointed out that very nearly all my friends are also on the spectrum, but then it occurred to me that this probably isn't true here, and that inasmuch as it IS true, those of you who are here who might be on the spectrum or know you are probably will find this interesting as well, so I may as well share it.

Set aside a good chunk of time to do this.

Clicky!

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I scored 88% and I am definitely face blind. The difference between the test and my real life ability is that on the test I had time to look and memorize without trying to follow a conversation.   In real life I’m trying to follow the conversation and make sure I don’t respond like an idiot. Being socially awkward means I really have to focus on listening and thinking about a response so I don’t make ‘that kind’ of lasting impression. 

 

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I scored 86%. I'm usually good with faces. It's remembering who they belong to that gets me in trouble. 

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85%

Surprised it was that high, I was losing patience at the end. I don't think I'm faceblind at all but remembering the names to go with faces is so much harder.

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I know I'll fail this - I rely on cues like hair and voice to recognise faces.

I think it's related to my inability to visualise. 

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92. I can't believe I got that high. By the end, I was just clicking at random at whatever looked vaguely right.

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42, I already knew I was faceblind.

I couldn't memorize the faces at all, the best I could do was try to look for and label distinguishing features such as a cleft chin or heavy eyebrows or deepset eyes and commit those to memory. If I look at a face as a whole all I can really note is that it is a face, there are eyes and a nose and a mouth.

Edited by maize
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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

I know I'll fail this - I rely on cues like hair and voice to recognise faces.

I think it's related to my inability to visualise. 

Oh, can you not visualize? I had a student who couldn't and learning a little about that was fascinating. It's especially interesting to me that it's only been relatively recently understood that it's a thing. I could totally imagine that it could be an overlap. Though apparently it doesn't always overlap with visual memory, which is also fascinating. Like, someone can't picture it in their head and yet can still recall it.

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1 hour ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I did fine at first but then it went to just dots for the faces and I had more trouble. (Was it like that for everyone?)

Yes, the last section was all pixellated (and sometimes mostly dark)

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1 minute ago, maize said:

Yes, the last section was all pixellated (and sometimes mostly dark)

I actually think that I'm quite good at faces.  (I have subbed a lot over the years and had to instantly learn faces and names).  But I had trouble seeing through the pixellation.  So I'm thinking for me it was more of a vision problem than a face memory problem. 

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39 minutes ago, maize said:

42, I already knew I was faceblind.

I couldn't memorize the faces at all, the best I could do was try to look for and label distinguishing features such as a cleft chin or heavy eyebrows or deepset eyes and commit those to memory. If I look at a face as a whole all I can really not is that it is a face, there are eyes and a nose and a mouth.

I got a 57, and this is exactly how I managed to do as good as I did. 

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1 hour ago, ljpisme said:

97% for me.  Now if I could only remember names, too!

 I scored a 96%.  I am annoyingly good with faces--I'll see people out who are so familiar, and then I remember they're an employee at business I went to once.  Meanwhile I've spent time trying to place them and figure out if I should greet them, and if I should greet them, WhatTheHaystack is their name??!!  As good as I am with faces, I'm about as equally bad with names, even if I put in effort and really focus on remembering the name.

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95%. Putting a name to the face is not as easy for me as recognizing the face.

Edited by alewife

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I got 90%  The last ones were very hard and I was guessing on several of them.  

I already knew I had good visual memory.    But, yeah, I also can't remember names people tell me.  If I'm able to write it down I will remember but that's weird when you're meeting someone for the first time.

 

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2 hours ago, maize said:

42, I already knew I was faceblind.

I couldn't memorize the faces at all, the best I could do was try to look for and label distinguishing features such as a cleft chin or heavy eyebrows or deepset eyes and commit those to memory. If I look at a face as a whole all I can really note is that it is a face, there are eyes and a nose and a mouth.

I got a 64% but guessed on almost all of them. So good guessing, but still face blind. I totally was memorizing eyebrows and nothing else because if I look at the whole face it is sort of a blur. 

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88% The pixelated ones at the end were annoying to me. I felt like I was doing really well until then, but there came a point where I couldn't imagine anyone would be able to recognize a face with that much obscured. I will be interested to have my over 18 kid try.

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81%. I could probably do a little better as I was watching my grandson at the time and therefore wasn't giving it my full concentration.

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4 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I did fine at first but then it went to just dots for the faces and I had more trouble. (Was it like that for everyone?)

 

Yes, I think it was to screen out people like me who notice the one thing different about each face.  This one had low brows close to his tiny eyes.  This one had very light eyes, this one had one fuzzy brow and one normal one.  I notice things that are odd about people but I'm not sure I could draw them later.  Fuzz over the detail I remembered and I don't recognize them later.  But I'm generally pretty good with faces in real life.  Names not so much.

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4 hours ago, maize said:

42, I already knew I was faceblind.

I couldn't memorize the faces at all, the best I could do was try to look for and label distinguishing features such as a cleft chin or heavy eyebrows or deepset eyes and commit those to memory. If I look at a face as a whole all I can really note is that it is a face, there are eyes and a nose and a mouth.

That’s what I did. Which worked well for this test but doesn’t work at all when I’m trying to remember a name that goes with a face, and his wife’s name, etc. 

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I knew my score would be low, and it was: 58. I am not sure how the "help" I received from our four kids affected my score. DH is taking it now, without help from our kids. His first comment "even this first section is hard" made me laugh. I always thought he was better with faces, but maybe not as much as I thought!

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4 hours ago, Farrar said:

Oh, can you not visualize? I had a student who couldn't and learning a little about that was fascinating. It's especially interesting to me that it's only been relatively recently understood that it's a nothing. I could totally imagine that it could be an overlap. Though apparently it doesn't always overlap with visual memory, which is also fascinating. Like, someone can't picture it in their head and yet can still recall it.

 

 I recall in prose, lol. An internal narration. Sort of like knowing that you are watching a piece of paper in a typewriter filling up with type, and being able to say the words to yourself, but not being able to see the typewriter.  

I didn't know that wasn't usual until last year when I read an article about it.

I also can't 'picture' things in my mind other than a very rudimentary sort of scribble with a black pencil. Like, if you ask me to think of a person, I can spatially 'draw' a kindergarten type person in my brain, though it fades as I 'draw'; I retain an inner 'knowledge' that I just drew a human with two legs, two arms, a head, eyes, nose and face.  

It explains why I also hated relaxation exercises where you had to 'visualise' yourself on the beach or whatever. I thought 'visualise' was a metaphor for 'tell yourself a story about being at the beach' . I  wondered why people used such an ineffective exercise. Lo and behold, at the age of 48, I discovered that 'visualise' is not a metaphor but a thing people can do.

 

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6 minutes ago, sgo95 said:

Can someone post a link to the test?  I'm not sure where to find it...

 

It's linked at the end of the first post.

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Also, I think I'm still the winner here. Anybody got lower than I did? (I at least recognized Bart Simpson.)

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37 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

 I recall in prose, lol. An internal narration. Sort of like knowing that you are watching a piece of paper in a typewriter filling up with type, and being able to say the words to yourself, but not being able to see the typewriter.  

I didn't know that wasn't usual until last year when I read an article about it.

I also can't 'picture' things in my mind other than a very rudimentary sort of scribble with a black pencil. Like, if you ask me to think of a person, I can spatially 'draw' a kindergarten type person in my brain, though it fades as I 'draw'; I retain an inner 'knowledge' that I just drew a human with two legs, two arms, a head, eyes, nose and face.  

It explains why I also hated relaxation exercises where you had to 'visualise' yourself on the beach or whatever. I thought 'visualise' was a metaphor for 'tell yourself a story about being at the beach' . I  wondered why people used such an ineffective exercise. Lo and behold, at the age of 48, I discovered that 'visualise' is not a metaphor but a thing people can do.

 

I am somewhat like this. I used to think I didn't visualize at all but when I started paying more attention I realized that I do in fact visualize, say when reading a book; the visualizations are just very... fuzzy? A conception that does have a sort of visual quality to it but without detail. People talk about characters in movies not being the way they envisioned them when reading the book--my characters aren't really there with any detail in my mind. And I also think mostly in words.

Do you have images in your dreams though? I do. Which really makes me wonder why I can't create images in my head outside of a dream. It seems that some fundamental capacity must be there?

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I got 79%. 

I wonder why they used only male faces. I wonder how it would vary using female faces- like do females do better with recognition with male faces or female faces, or vice versa type of thing. (I am assuming it was male faces for everyone on the test, or did it vary??) 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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7 minutes ago, maize said:

I am somewhat like this. I used to think I didn't visualize at all but when I started paying more attention I realized that I do in fact visualize, say when reading a book; the visualizations are just very... fuzzy? A conception that does have a sort of visual quality to it but without detail. People talk about characters in movies not being the way they envisioned them when reading the book--my characters aren't really there with any detail in my mind. And I also think mostly in words.

Do you have images in your dreams though? I do. Which really makes me wonder why I can't create images in my head outside of a dream. It seems that some fundamental capacity must be there?

 

Yes, visual imagery in dreams. Vivid and colorful.

So the capacity to produce visual images is there somewhere, but it isn't under my conscious control. I was also able to 'see' colorful images in the months post my first pregnancy, but again, not under my control. I saw images of sketches for embroidery instead. It faded away after a few months.  Pretty weird, huh.

I don't visualize at all when I'm reading - in fact, I skip over most visual description because it's just so boring. I've never been able to 'see' a character from a novel. I can experience moods as I read, and sometimes 'hear' the writer's or character's voice. 

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Just now, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I got 79%. 

I wonder why they used only male faces. I wonder how it would vary using female faces- like do females do better with recognition with male faces or female faces, or vice versa type of thing. (I am assuming it was male faces for everyone on the test, or did it vary??) 

 

All male. 

I wondered the same. 

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

It's linked at the end of the first post.

 

57 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Doh!  Thanks, ladies.  That was interesting.  I got 90%.

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96%, and I have zero explanation for that.  I once didn’t recognize my own AUNT in a grocery store.  I mean, I eventually did, but I initially couldn’t understand why some strange lady was approaching me in a parking lot! I also can’t tell my kids apart in baby/some toddler pictures.

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9 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I got 79%. 

I wonder why they used only male faces. I wonder how it would vary using female faces- like do females do better with recognition with male faces or female faces, or vice versa type of thing. (I am assuming it was male faces for everyone on the test, or did it vary??) 

All clean-shaven white men. Maybe because it would be easier to distinguish someone based on gender even if you didn't actually recognize the person.

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11 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

 I recall in prose, lol. An internal narration. Sort of like knowing that you are watching a piece of paper in a typewriter filling up with type, and being able to say the words to yourself, but not being able to see the typewriter.  

I didn't know that wasn't usual until last year when I read an article about it.

I also can't 'picture' things in my mind other than a very rudimentary sort of scribble with a black pencil. Like, if you ask me to think of a person, I can spatially 'draw' a kindergarten type person in my brain, though it fades as I 'draw'; I retain an inner 'knowledge' that I just drew a human with two legs, two arms, a head, eyes, nose and face.  

It explains why I also hated relaxation exercises where you had to 'visualise' yourself on the beach or whatever. I thought 'visualise' was a metaphor for 'tell yourself a story about being at the beach' . I  wondered why people used such an ineffective exercise. Lo and behold, at the age of 48, I discovered that 'visualise' is not a metaphor but a thing people can do.

 

I can visualize but find it a completely ineffective exercise anyway when someone else is telling me to do it.  

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