Practice Recognizing Faces

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.

A video from 60 Minutes, on Face Blindess


How do I know if I’m face blind?

The Cambridge Face Memory Test can give you some indication. Keep in mind that people fall into a range of facial recognition ability. Some are very good at it, some are very weak at it, while most are just average. It’s not black and white

How does the app work?

It’s a very basic app based on two principles: 1) face-blindness can be improved through practice, and 2) spaced repetition helps to retain things in long term memory.

Is the code available?


What is your privacy policy?

Privacy Policy

How much does the app cost?

It’s free


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