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Join the conversation! There are now 27 comments on this chapter's page 42. Wired for Faces. What are your thoughts?
  1. SeanR says

    Not germane to the topic, but I’m curious.
    Is the cute redhead based on anyone you know?

  2. Robert says

    It is important to be able to recognize faces because people in general *expect* you to be able to recognize faces.

    Once I asked a woman how, in places where the women all wear burqas, they can tell each other apart. Her reply was, essentially, “You have a voice. You can say ‘I’m Jamila’ or ‘I’m Amira’ or whatever.”

    • It’s a biological thing, not a social thing. I mean it’s also a social thing, but it is a biological, hard-wired ability that we have. It’s one of the reasons why we see “faces” in inanimate objects so easily.

      • To say that humans are social creatures is an immense understatement.

        Sure, we can barely add, but just look at how great we are at language and at jockeying for social position!

        • We are better at language and jockeying at social position than most other land-mammals. However, we are also better at addition than most other land-mammals. So comparing our arithmetic skills to our language and political skills is not a sound way to establish that we are social animals compared to other animals. More importantly, we have not established common success or failure criteria across those three skill-sets that you mentioned. So even comparing our relative aptitudes across them is basically comparing apples to oranges.

          • Let me give you an example of what I mean.

            When I was a child, I was an excellent speller. I read a lot, and the spellings of words just stuck in my mind without me having to deliberately study them. I did not understand why other children did not just “pick up” spelling the way I did.

            With social skills, however, it was a different story. I just did not “get” social skills (I have Asperger’s syndrome), I got a very late start, and I had to *deliberately* study social skills. I needed people to help me by “tutoring” me in social skills, even into my thirties (yes, I am that old).

            As a person with Asperger syndrome, it seems to me that other people’s intelligence is *specialized* for social matters. Even with my own meager social skills, I can see how my own brain is specialized for social intelligence: it is easier to, say, recognize a dirty look on someone’s face than to subtract 17 from 92.

            • But that is just it. Comparing a typical human to an outlier human only establishes that some humans are more, or less, socially adept than others. To establish that humans are social animals, that humans are more social than other animals, the relevant comparison is that of the typical human to the typical members of other species of animals.

  3. No, facial recognition is expected because it’s an innate ability. See|Capgras_delusion and|Prosopagnosia about failures of this ability.

    Most people recognize others by more than just their faces.

    I’m sure this section will be just as interesting as previous sections.

    We (those of us who like cute redheads) want to see more of the cute redhead! :-)

    • Facial recognition is an innate ability *for you*, perhaps, but not for me.

      For most of my life, it seemed to me that human faces looked pretty much alike.

      Even now, my memory for faces is far from perfect. I usually “cheat” by remembering things like body shape as well.

      • Sorry Robert, I was referring to us as a species.

        My own recognition of people seems to be different from others. I can look at two people I know, whom others confuse, and they don’t really look alike to me. On the other hand, given only an unreasonably short number of years, I’ll have trouble recognizing either.

        I can recognize some people from behind, based on their shape or what they’re wearing, or the way they move (umm, women, generally; I admit to being biased).

  4. Waffle Sorter says

    It occurs to me to wonder about people who can’t, or can’t easily, recognize faces. (Such as myself – very often I feel like a movie or TV episode expects me to be able to recognize someone from a three-second appearance early on, but I usually can’t unless they’re played by someone who had a significant role in something I’ve been into for years.)

  5. Tim says

    I can’t wait to see where this is headed… And I hope it involves the cute redhead.

  6. SeanR says

    For me, a posed shot gives me very little to recognize. I would prefer as little as a three second video clip over a static head and shoulders picture of someone.

    It’s a little better if the photographer managed to capture, or pose, the subject in a way that echoes how they move and carry themselves. That tilt of head means more to me than the spacing of those nostrils do.

    I have gone so far off as to leave a somewhat elderly African American man shopping, to look up something for him, and return to find a Hispanic, probably twenty years younger, and (try to) resume the conversation, not noticing the substitution until he looks at me weird.
    Same height, (roughly,) same gender, same spot I left the last guy…

    When Google Glass becomes mainstream, I’ll be buying one…with a virtual nametag app.

      • On second thought, it’s not the second time I missed the reply button.
        Guess what odd behavior No-Script causes for this comment system?

        • It makes it feel out-of-place, wanting to belong, filling up the emptiness inside by consuming others and taking on their personalities, until purged by a bitter medicine?

          Oops, sorry. That’s someone else.

  7. SeanR says

    Google glass was placed back under wraps.
    Whether or not it ever resurfaces from closed development, only time, and Google, can tell.
    Still, I would really only put the things on to give me nametags like you see in video games. Names, floating over the heads of all the other people. Possibly with a small amount of biographical data that’s relevant to me.

  8. SeanR says

    Well, that’s the SECOND time, this conversation, where I missed the reply button.

  9. Kereth Midknight says

    I remember you commenting that Miss Flavors and Wossname were based on your parents. I can’t help but notice a similar set of features in the final panel here. Mom and Pop making a comeback?

    • I don’t see the resemblance myself, and it certainly wasn’t intended.

      But any number of artistic/literary critics will insist that my intent isn’t terribly important, so I guess just take from it all what you will.

      (Unless what I write is confusing. In which case, tell me. Because that’s never my intent.)

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