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Is there a science behind the ability to visualize peoples faces?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that some people, after seeing their face for 10 seconds, I can clearly visualize it in my head for days and weeks afterwards. Other people, after spending a whole day or two with them, seeing their face for hours upon hours, I have real trouble clearly visualizing their face afterwards. I can see their general outline, and some specific features, but not most of the face or the expression. Are there any theories about what it means that I can't visualize a certain persons face even after spending a bunch of time with them? One friend told me that that happens when you care a lot about the person. Is that true?
post #2 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I've noticed that some people, after seeing their face for 10 seconds, I can clearly visualize it in my head for days and weeks afterwards. Other people, after spending a whole day or two with them, seeing their face for hours upon hours, I have real trouble clearly visualizing their face afterwards. I can see their general outline, and some specific features, but not most of the face or the expression. Are there any theories about what it means that I can't visualize a certain persons face even after spending a bunch of time with them? One friend told me that that happens when you care a lot about the person. Is that true?

Not sure that I can speak to how memory works, but I have read some theories on face recognition that postulate that the more any given face differs from some generic model of a face that our brain holds, the easier it is to remember. It jibes well with other physiologic processes, such as temperature control, that depend on a set-point stored in the brain. I am sure that with memory, context plays a huge role. Psychologists talk about "state dependent learning", and anyone who has studied to music can probably attest to its validity. Is his book, On Intelligence, Jeff Hawkins writes about a stereotyped series of movements our eyes go through when scanning a face. We are incapable of taking the whole face in at once. Instead, our eyes jump from eye to eye to nose to mouth and back and forth in a saccadic rhythm. Our brains seem to be pre-wired to look at faces and to find facial patterns.

Don't know that this answers any of your question, but it is an interesting topic.

PS: 600th post
post #3 of 42
Stuff's way over my head, but...I recall an article on dreaming and it said that the strangers you see in your dreams are actually people you've seen in real life, mere passerby's and glances at faces you've imputed and stored...
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I've noticed that some people, after seeing their face for 10 seconds, I can clearly visualize it in my head for days and weeks afterwards. Other people, after spending a whole day or two with them, seeing their face for hours upon hours, I have real trouble clearly visualizing their face afterwards. I can see their general outline, and some specific features, but not most of the face or the expression. Are there any theories about what it means that I can't visualize a certain persons face even after spending a bunch of time with them? One friend told me that that happens when you care a lot about the person. Is that true?

no.

some people just aren't distinct.
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post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

no.

some people just aren't distinct.

A girl that I like and find attractive isn't distinct to me? Normally when I meet a cute girl, I remember what she looks like. How come I can't visualize this girls face clearly?
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

How come I can't visualize this girls face clearly?

Shawn, you wanna take this one or shall I?
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post #7 of 42
hellgate...

her breasts... you have to stop staring at her breasts.
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post #8 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

hellgate...

her breasts... you have to stop staring at her breasts.

\

I wasn't even thinking along those lines because I assumed you guys were more mature than this.

I was not staring at her breasts.

Can we get on with the topic please?

edit: To clarify, i've met plenty of girls with big breasts and dull faces, and I can still vividly imagine their faces in my mind. This girl had a unique, pretty face, and small breasts. Regardless, I wasn't staring at them.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

\

I wasn't even thinking along those lines because I assumed you guys were more mature than this.

I was not staring at her breasts.

Can we get on with the topic please?

edit: To clarify, i've met plenty of girls with big breasts and dull faces, and I can still vividly imagine their faces in my mind. This girl had a unique, pretty face, and small breasts. Regardless, I wasn't staring at them.

oh boo fucking hoo...

men of all ages stare at women's breasts... what is the problem with admitting that you do?

it is deceitful to suggest that you don't unless, of course, you don't swing that way...

your heart was all atwitter with this girl? you were occupied with not sounding like the douche you are? well these distractions can bump long term memories from being formed...
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post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

oh boo fucking hoo...

men of all ages stare at women's breasts... what is the problem with admitting that you do?

it is deceitful to suggest that you don't unless, of course, you don't swing that way...

your heart was all atwitter with this girl? you were occupied with not sounding like the douche you are? well these distractions can bump long term memories from being formed...

I didn't say I never looked at her breasts. I said that I wasn't staring at them.

As for your theory, it makes sense, except for the fact that it doesn't take any work for me to not sound like a douche, because i'm not a douche. When are you gonna grow up?

I'm now dating this girl and things are going really well. I can also visualize her face because I spent four days with her recently. It would still be interesting to know why after the first day I couldn't visualize her face though. If anyone else has any idea, feel free to share.

And please, let's omit false and rude assumptions about other peoples real-life personalities from the conversation.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I didn't say I never looked at her breasts. I said that I wasn't staring at them.

As for your theory, it makes sense, except for the fact that it doesn't take any work for me to not sound like a douche, because i'm not a douche. When are you gonna grow up?

I'm now dating this girl and things are going really well. I can also visualize her face because I spent four days with her recently. It would still be interesting to know why after the first day I couldn't visualize her face though. If anyone else has any idea, feel free to share.

And please, let's omit false and rude assumptions about other peoples real-life personalities from the conversation.

Uh? There is plenty of hard evidence here and elsewhere that suggests that you are a douche.
I barely need to cite the sources for everyone to know it to be true.

Why don't you grow up to face the fact that you are an often and entirely repugnant shell of a person?
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post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I didn't say I never looked at her breasts. I said that I wasn't staring at them.

As for your theory, it makes sense, except for the fact that it doesn't take any work for me to not sound like a douche, because i'm not a douche. When are you gonna grow up?

I'm now dating this girl and things are going really well. I can also visualize her face because I spent four days with her recently. It would still be interesting to know why after the first day I couldn't visualize her face though. If anyone else has any idea, feel free to share.

And please, let's omit false and rude assumptions about other peoples real-life personalities from the conversation.

dont take any notice of him if it bothers you, it was a bit mean, but the premise was on the right track,

I know you are a very mature guy and have been bought up with good manners and such, but sometimes the best way, indeed the most mature, and refined way of dealing with a bit of rudeness and false assumptions is just to laugh it off and chill a bit, afterall - you know that it wasn't you who was being a 'douche' - so why not let him make a fool of himself by being one himself,

laugh it off, try not to give the impression of being a bit uptight, know who you really are, and accept that in life, a bit of swerving and lubrication makes everything go so much easier.

- and stop staring at her breasts....
post #13 of 42
If only you were this sincere with SDW...
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post #14 of 42
Marc, your pandering to macgeek doesn't help his development as a person. It isn't his actions that make him a douche, it is his inability to learn from them -- he repeats the same mistake time and again. What he needs to realize is that he isn't a cool guy everyone loves. His self-aggrandizement is off-putting. His forced internet 'conversations' laughable. etc. This hasn't been beaten into his head through normal circumstances so it is about time for him to learn the truth via more forceful thrashings. Nothing I have said is false. Nothing I have done to macgeek would I not do again.
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post #15 of 42
Thread Starter 
You're right Marc, thanks.

I feel it would be rather weird and pointless to take the word of a group of anonymous people on an internet forum, and begin altering my personality/behavior in the real world based on it. I'll let my internet life and my real life co-exist. On internet forums, i'm considered an asshole and a douche, and in real life i'm considered a really great person.
post #16 of 42
Not just a great person, a really great person!
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post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

Not just a great person, a really great person!



These little linguistic insights into macgeek's mind make me all warm and tingly like after a warm bath with piranhas...

I really do wonder how this kid operates in the real world completely unaware of the fact that the vast majority of his interactions are misinterpreted by himself.

There was a post-doc giving a talk at a recent conference I attended who was so full of herself and her abilities (she even advertised her own private website on her acknowledgments slide) that virtually no one was willingly to tell her that her science was shit, her conclusions wrong, and her outlook clouded by her self-assurance. The most cited cause for this lack of critique seemed to be the desire not to damage such a perfect and beautiful ego.

I honestly wonder if this is the way in which the "real" world deals with macgeek. Such a specimen, that one...

btw, macgeek, I and the rest of the posters here are very much real and my real-world opinion of you isn't different than my "internet life" opinion. I very much would like to see how you deal with that realization...
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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

If only you were this sincere with SDW...



now, that is the definition of douche.

I think some of you need to look beyond the surface and see the person underneath. Considering what we do know about TheMacHellGeek911, considering his age, considering the upbringing he has had, I think you the rest of you should show some understanding and compassion for the guy, who obviously has had a very different life so far from the most of us, and is making the first steps into a world he has been somewhat sheltered from.

Maybe, just maybe, underneath that shell of his, that some of you have found annoying, arrogant etc, there is a really great kid, who is a bit scared, a bit naive, who is still formulating the methods of interaction with the world at large.

I dont think he realised how he was coming across, how people found him annoying, and why there was such hostility towards him. He acted the way he did, because that was what he has been told to do all his life. Now he is thinking for himself. Now he is creating his own self image.

repeatedly calling him to task, being unpleasant, and sometimes vile, is not helping his 'development', if that what you think he needs.

He takes notice of the world around him, he is observant and thoughtful. I think once he has taken stock of the 'rules of engagement' with us 'scumbag's - he will be a really great guy to have around.

SDW on the other hand....
post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 
None of you have a real-world opinion of me, because none of you have met me in person. That's what I meant.

It just blows my mind how you guys can talk about me the way you do, with no grounding or evidence that anything that you're saying about me is true.

Assuming that people are feeling pity for me in real life, or not telling me how screwed up I am because they don't want to shatter my fragile ego, or whatever else you guys come up with. It's rediculous. It'll be easy for you guys to now point a finger at me and say "Hah.. he's running away from the truth." But i'm not running away. I'm telling you all that you are full of shit and that you have no idea who I am.

Marc is the only guy who might actually believe me. I am telling the truth.
post #20 of 42
Hellgate I'm with Marc. He sounds like a decent chap.

BACK ON TOPIC.

Yes, it is interesting, usually with people I've known for a while I can't really visualize what they look like. I think there's so much variation and maybe so much visual stimulus that we deal with, online and on-the-street...

The "visual" of a person's face is so not important compared to what their projected identity is, what they are wearing, our preconceptions of them, etc.

In a big city, remember there is no human way right now to process known or unknown people at the speed and volume we would like to. Therefore the brain, I believe, takes many shortcuts. Not just racial stereotypes but I would say "situational stereotypes".

In the modern world, for example, just getting on a subway train when you have to be on time for work or something else, requires very rapid mental and physical processing of getting through the gates, waiting, finding your way to the crowd, etc. You also need to rapidly and constantly scan the environment for "event clues". For example, if someone is redirecting you somewhere, you need to evaluate their authority by their uniform, etc. Also you need to scan for physical security, etc.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

\

I wasn't even thinking along those lines because I assumed you guys were more mature than this.

I was not staring at her breasts.

Can we get on with the topic please?

edit: To clarify, i've met plenty of girls with big breasts and dull faces, and I can still vividly imagine their faces in my mind. This girl had a unique, pretty face, and small breasts. Regardless, I wasn't staring at them.

To be honest, I now consider members of the same or opposite sex in more wholistic ways, I know you're talking about the faces more specifically in this case.

It should be pointed out though as normal mating instinct there are many elements which we "scan" for when dealing with other people, male or female, attractive or not.

BTW, ignore thread hijackers. AppleInsider attracts these fkers for some reason. Hell, I've been guilty of that sometimes.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

None of you have a real-world opinion of me, because none of you have met me in person. That's what I meant.

This doesn't make sense -- semantically this construction indicates that you believe that your interactions with people online are not real.

Quote:
It just blows my mind how you guys can talk about me the way you do, with no grounding or evidence that anything that you're saying about me is true.

No evidence? How about the years of posts by macgeek and all your aliases? Contrary to the immature opinion you currently harbor, your posts and their content/construction speak volumes about who you are. If you respond to things like a control freak, you probably are a control freak... if you act like a douche, you probably are a douche. As you could probably guess, I am a bit of an asshole in real life because I expect people to be better than they are, like I expect you to someday flourish into a "real" human being.

Quote:
Assuming that people are feeling pity for me in real life, or not telling me how screwed up I am because they don't want to shatter my fragile ego, or whatever else you guys come up with.

You missed the point. Your ego is hardly fragile.

Quote:
It's rediculous[sic]. It'll be easy for you guys to now point a finger at me and say "Hah.. he's running away from the truth." But i'm not running away. I'm telling you all that you are full of shit and that you have no idea who I am.

Perhaps, but do you realize how you come off in these discussions? If I am the asshole villain, what are you? The innocent perfect bystander? Naturally you assume the best about yourself, but you have never been self-critical in any of these interactions. People pick on you because there is a whole hell of a lot that is consistently wrong about your internet interactions. Maybe in "real" life, your physical presence is demonstrably awkward so people expect this sort of awkwardness to come out of you mouth, but on the internet we have only your words to judge. And your words do speak volumes.

Quote:
Marc is the only guy who might actually believe me. I am telling the truth.

Nah, Marc is only coddling you because everyone else has jumped on you at some point or another. His response is to be naturally dismissive of the group, to be a contrarian, if you will.

Not that there is anything wrong with his approach to you -- from what I have seen, its really truly a lost cause; your growth is stymied by your inability to consider everything you are encountering as plausible, you have no internal mirror with which to question why things are the way they are. You blame bad interactions on the others in the conversation. That is your response; it is how your mother raised you. Poorly, I might add. Regardless, Marc is right in suggesting that there is some improvement, but I think instead of being an internal monologue gearing up as Marc would suggest, it is more the response of a whipped dog who will go back to being the same old couch-shitter once his master turns his back...
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post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

Maybe in "real" life, your physical presence is demonstrably awkward so people expect this sort of awkwardness to come out of you mouth, but on the internet we have only your words to judge. And your words do speak volumes.

Bingo.
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post #24 of 42
Thread Starter 
Can we please stay on topic? Thanks.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Are there any theories about what it means that I can't visualize a certain persons face even after spending a bunch of time with them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Can we please stay on topic? Thanks.

The thread started about you, so I really fail to see the problem with openly discussing your issues or even my issues with you...
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post #26 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

The thread started about you, so I really fail to see the problem with openly discussing your issues or even my issues with you...

Okay, let's discuss my issues.

This morning, I couldn't make it out the door in time because my ass had grown a giant wart that was larger than the door. I was embarrassed because Steven Spielberg was over visiting, and I didn't want him to see the man-sized wart that had grown on my ass. So I went down into my bunker and hid there, but I forgot that Hitler was down there. Luckily however, Hitler was so scared of the wart that he called an army of nazi's over to shoot it up, and that solved my problem. I was still late for work though.

Or would you rather discuss the issues that you consider more "real" but are just as ridiculous?
post #27 of 42
You mean like the one where you claim to be dating a girl?
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post #28 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

You mean like the one where you claim to be dating a girl?

I don't even know what to say to that. \

I am dating a very mature, beautiful, intelligent girl. You know, someone on my level. I rarely ask a girl out, because I have extremely high standards.

edit: One of these days you childish bullies are going to have to realize that your judgements, assumptions, and impressions of me are DEAD WRONG.

And I will admit that I have given you every reason to believe what you do about me, from what i've written on internet forums, but it's not really who I am.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I can see their general outline, and some specific features, but not most of the face or the expression. Are there any theories about what it means that I can't visualize a certain persons face even after spending a bunch of time with them? One friend told me that that happens when you care a lot about the person. Is that true?

If you approach this logically, you also have to consider the possibility that her face was not fully formed during the period in which you spent time with her. It's possible that while her body was fully developed, her face was an amorphous, murky blob, a hazy cloud of shifting protoplasm floating above her shoulders. Maybe that's just the way she is, until you get to know her better, at which point the hazy cloud above her shoulders resolves into the sort of conventional human-like face that is easier to remember following a visit.
post #30 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duddits View Post

If you approach this logically, you also have to consider the possibility that her face was not fully formed during the period in which you spent time with her. It's possible that while her body was fully developed, her face was an amorphous, murky blob, a hazy cloud of shifting protoplasm floating above her shoulders. Maybe that's just the way she is, until you get to know her better, at which point the hazy cloud above her shoulders resolves into the sort of conventional human-like face that is easier to remember following a visit.

You should be a novelist. I read your post for the first time out loud to my girlfriend on the phone, and we were both laughing our asses off. Thanks.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I don't even know what to say to that. \

I am dating a very mature, beautiful, intelligent girl. You know, someone on my level. I rarely ask a girl out, because I have extremely high standards.

edit: One of these days you childish bullies are going to have to realize that your judgements, assumptions, and impressions of me are DEAD WRONG.

And I will admit that I have given you every reason to believe what you do about me, from what i've written on internet forums, but it's not really who I am.

Just ignore some of the other posters. They're good for discussing technology issues but any real personal/relationship discussions evade them sometimes.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Or would you rather discuss the issues that you consider more "real" but are just as ridiculous?

I see improvement here already -- you learned how to spell ridiculous...

btw, if what we believe about you is based upon evidence it isn't an assumption...

the more you know ...
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post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

I am dating a very mature, beautiful, intelligent girl. You know, someone on my level.

Let's put this a different way... would you date a girl that you find childish, ugly and stupid?
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post #34 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

Let's put this a different way... would you date a girl that you find childish, ugly and stupid?

Is Penelope Cruz beautiful?

When many people agree on something, it can be considered true. Most people consider my girlfriend to be beautiful, mature, and intelligent. There is no absolute truth, but that is the general consensus.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Is Penelope Cruz beautiful?

Depends on who you ask. She does have a horse face.

The essential point of course being that people don't date those who they think are childish, ugly, or stupid. They date people they think are mature, intelligent, and beautiful. It's all relative.

Quote:
When many people agree on something, it can be considered true. Most people consider my girlfriend to be beautiful, mature, and intelligent. There is no absolute truth, but that is the general consensus.

Not necessarily. You always tell someone that their baby is beautiful, often unprompted, even if its ugly as hell. The point here of course being that people like to tell others what they want to here.
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post #36 of 42
Fuckin' Flounder...

You have the highest standards out of anyone I have ever met.

Jessica Simpson, Penelope Cruz, I know I am missing some too!
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post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

The point here of course being that people like to tell others what they want to here.

Which is why, young Lennon, you must always tell girls what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

Otherwise, you'll be just like hardee...
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post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

Fuckin' Flounder...

You have the highest standards out of anyone I have ever met.

Jessica Simpson, Penelope Cruz, I know I am missing some too!

Trust me, my standards are pretty low

Despite any horsey qualities her face may have, I find Penelope Cruz quite beautiful.

Mostly I was thinking about the episode of family guy where they have a clip of Cleveland as an E! correspondent doing interviews on the red carpet. He calls Penelope Cruz sea biscuit and then feeds her carrot.

I do, however, legitimately find Jessica Simpson unattractive.
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post #39 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

Which is why, young Lennon, you must always tell girls what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

Otherwise, you'll be just like hardee...

There is nothing that anybody needs to hear. Only what you think they need to hear.

I am 100% honest with my girlfriend, and that's why things are going so well between us.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

When many people agree on something, it can be considered true.

I knew you would go there, I just didn't realize it would be so easy to get you there.


This view, that when more than one person believes something it can be considered true is a devastating falsehood. It is perhaps the most intellectually weak argument that the human mind can create. It implicitly allows simultaneous, mutually exclusive truths to exist. It weakens the very notion of facts and provides no framework upon which any understanding can be built. In short, people who have this view point are no better than dullards and should be summarily shot. That means you, in this context.
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