In a previous post, I shared my experience as a teacher with hyperphantasia and coming to the realization that not all people have the ability to create mental images, after one of my students shared with me that he couldn’t picture images in his mind. Curious, I wondered if there was a reason or diagnosis for this. While looking, I learned that he may have aphantasia. We’ll come back to that later.
Just in case you haven’t yet read the post, allow me to catch you up to speed. While aphantasia is the inability to form mental images of objects that are present, hyperphantasia is the ability for an individual to create highly graphic images in his or her mind’s eye.
Motivated by one of the responding comments from that post and my own experiences inspired me to write this post about Super Face Recognition. Almost a year ago, I was going about my business after work. I was starving and needed to pick up groceries to cook dinner. As I hurried from the parking lot and into the shopping center I passed by a woman who looked so familiar. And I was right. She had changed a lot though. I hadn’t seen her for almost twenty years. The young woman had been a girl I knew in high school. We shared a lot of classes and graduated the same year. We were never close friends, but I remembered her face. Though she had aged beautifully (lol — we both had!) and lost weight (another similarity) I knew it was her! I called her by her name and when she turned I was like, “WHOA! This is weird!” She laughed and said, “Do I know you?” I reminded her that we had shared an English Honors class and offered my name. Her face lit up as if a supernova had exploded beneath her skin. “Monique! That’s you! I can’t believe it! You look so different! How did you recognize me?” I thought it was weird that I recognized her, too. So, I started researching and discovered more amazing abilities about the human brain!
Now I’m wondering if there’s any correlation between hyperphantasia and Super Face Recognisers. What do you think? Want to learn more? For more information you can visit Super Recognisers Greenwich.
If you’re curious to know about your abilities, there’s a test you can take. I’ve taken it and a lot of things are making more sense.