Yesterday I was listing to a segment on RN radio about super recognisers. Super recognisers are people who have the ability to remember a face after years of meeting the person. They are now used in law enforcement agencies to recognise faces of people caught doing criminal activity on CCTV footage. CCTV footage can be blurry and difficult to decipher, but not for a super recogniser. A super recogniser will firstly identify the face, then remember who it belongs to, to identify the person. To confirm if the first step is accurate, the information will then go to another super recogniser who will again identify the face on the CCTV footage. The information will then be used as a lead for police officers to investigate.
Super recognisers were identified after Harvard University called for people who had prosopagnosia (people who have difficulty recognising familiar faces), however received inquiries about people who had an unusual ability to remember a face after years of meeting the person. They are now being used in identifying people in CCTV footage that would otherwise be difficult to recognise.
People who have prosopagnosia will identify a person from their clothes, as apposed to the face. For example, a person who has prosopagnosia can know a person well, but if that person is wearing the same clothing (i.e., same suit) as another person next to her friend or family she knows well, the person with prosopagnosia will have difficulty knowing which is her friend or family because she won't be able to discern from their faces.
Here is the article and audio from RN http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnafternoons/super-recogniser/6744260
Here is a link to a test you can do to find out if you are a super recogniser, have prosopagnosia or normal when recognising faces
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