A personal story
Many years ago outside a school concert, a familiar voice called out to me,
“Hey Cloud, long time no see!”
“Oh! Hey Jen. I’m here with my friends, wanna sit with us?”
“Sure, I’ll be a bit late going in, save me a seat.”
I saved the seat beside me. As the hall started to fill up and people sat down in my row, a cheerful looking girl walked over and looked intently at the empty seat.
“Sorry, I’m saving it for a friend...”
5 seconds later, the girl was still standing there. She was no longer cheerful. That’s when I realized that it was Jen.
I always thought that I was inattentive or just bad with people. While that is probably true, I didn’t learn until recently that I’m bad at something that most people take for granted: recognizing faces.
According to Ken Nakayama and Richard Russell at Harvard and Bradley Duchaine at University College London, face-blindness may affect around 2% of people. 150 million face-blind people on earth.
Many face-blind people don’t realize that they are any worse than the general population. Many find their own ways to compensate. I rely heavily on voice, clothing and hairstyle. In films, characters changing outfits is always a rollercoaster ride for me. In public, someone waving at me might cause me some confusion but I’ll usually know who they are as soon as I hear their voice.
There’s another way to compensate. According to Joseph DeGutis at Harvard, training can make a significant difference.
WooWho is my attempt to help myself and people like me.