Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cats & Bags

Much time has elapsed since the beginning of this blog and I have in the time between posts learnt a great deal. First and foremost and pertinent to the prior posting, yet unknown to me at the time of writing, there was more to my story than I knew at the time of writing.

After a very long and as is customary, tenebrous conversation with my father one recent evening on a subject revolving around a specific incidence of facial recognition from his past, an incidence fact he had as a matter of course always maintained that whilst he 'never forgot a face' he could in this instance, place the man and the face, yet not the place. This led me to believe that he was in all likelihood someone at the higher end of hypothesised spectrum with regard to facial recognition abilities, yet no super recogniser.

During this discussion however, he elaborated that for reasons which must remain shrouded, he had been lying. In an incidence in his private life years ago, he had laid eyes on the aforementioned individual in only a passing moment and in a capacity unrelated to his own presence in the situation, yet when confronted with his image in a different and momentous capacity decades later, knew the face, the situation and the place. The gravitas of the situation supplied the name, which remained an unencountered from the sighting in decades passed.

This leads me to look at my prior story of our sweeper and to make further observations:

1. Did my father also recognise 'the man who sweeps up in Woolworths'? Possibly, possibly not, but the point of note is that whilst possessing the same ability as my mother, he - for whatever reason - mocked her. This leads me to:

2. The hypothesis that some super recognisers can be seen to be either unaware of, or intentionally conceal their ability. This is evidenced by 'Jennifer' in the BBC article.

I can for my part, exclaim a complete ignorance of my own super recgognitive ability. I thought only that I had been brought up to be polite and that when everyone I recognised did not recogise or outwardly acknowledge recognition, they were perhaps either rude or had their reasons for mostly customarily dismissive displays.

In addition I attest to telling what I deem to be 'embarrassment avoiding white lies' in the everyday, with regard to admitting whether or not I have met people before, in exactly the way described by 'Jennifer' from the above BBC article. This prompts me to put forward the notion that super recognisers feel a need to 'fit in'.

I personally, am never happier when in foreign lands or places far from home. My love of travel aside, there is also solace in the equalizing effect brought on by not recognising the same people from your hometown, day in-day out, whom you do not know and have never spoken to; From the man who stood in front of you in the bank once 3 months ago, to the workers in local shops and businesses.

I suppose I have - as with 'Jennifer' and my father - been aware that whilst acting honestly is always a definite preference, it is - under certain circumstances - far more comfortable for all concerned, not letting the cat out of the bag.

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