Is Remembering Faces And Names A "Girl" Thing?

Illustration for article titled Is Remembering Faces And Names A "Girl" Thing?

Not remembering people on repeat meetings is embarrassing, but for me, remembering them too well is another form of discomfort—one necessitating assurance that you aren't stalking them. According to Time, this is mostly a problem for ladies and gay men.


Witness this neat blend of anecdotal "accepted truth" and citations of scientific research:

It's long been an accepted truth among married couples that it's the wife who must usually steer the pair through social gatherings, reminding her husband if he's meeting someone for the first, second or fifteenth time - and science backs up that observation. In lab settings, women routinely outperform men in facial recognition skills, both in terms of speed and reliability. Imaging scans have shown that part of the reason is that men rely only on the right side of the brain in summoning up images of a face they've seen before, while women recruit from both hemispheres simultaneously - literally doubling the brainpower.

So perhaps I can blame my usually unerring face-recognition on my female double brain power, but how to explain my father acutely remembering every person who has crossed his path in his sixty-five years? Help me, oh scientific research tracking face recognition skills!

The results confirmed what the investigators suspected they'd find: the gay men and the straight women scored about equally well in the test, and both did better than the straight men. What's more, within the straight male group, lefties outperformed righties. The explanation is rooted mostly in the genes.

By this logic, my dad is either gay or left-handed. (Actually, he's the latter.) No word on whether queer women can remember a thing.

Have We Met Before? Women and Gay Men Most Apt to Know [Time]

Image via Crazy4design/Shutterstock



I always have this problem! I also can remember anyone's birthday forever if they tell me just once, so people think I'm so creepy.