On “super recognizers” — a small group of individuals with the ability to recognize nearly every face they have ever seen. Super recognizers are being studied to see if their recognition skills can be taught to other people:
“Police officers also may draw upon perceptional ability to ID suspects. Josh P. Davis, a psychologist at the University of Greenwich in London, is studying a group of police officers in London to see how perceptional ability aids in recognizing faces pulled from closed-circuit camera images. Davis began studying the officers for super recognition abilities after hearing of their near-superhuman perception abilities to match faces from such images.
“Only months after setting up his program to study the officers, riots broke out across London. A core group of 20 officers were able to ID more than 600 suspects from grainy and incomplete images collected by security cameras. One officer alone accounted for 190 identifications, pulling from memory faces he had seen before. In many cases, rioters wore heavy disguises — using scarves, bandannas, and hooded sweatshirts to protect their identities — leaving only the eyes visible. Tests of the 20 officers confirmed at least five are super recognizers, Davis says.”