View Full Version : Facial recognition - is this plausible?

Mr Flibble
11-11-2010, 05:52 PM
So, my inciting incident, one of my MCs is 11. Main bulk of the story is later (I'm thinking she's about 18 or so)

Now, I want/need for someone from the inciting incident to recognise her, even though he hasn't seen her inbetween. I don't mean straight away, but he sees how she is with a certain other person, hears her name and looks closer and OMG it's her! Shit! Plop hits fan.

Believable? Or should I make her slightly older at inciting incident time? (I could bump it up to about 13, but not much more as in this culture, she'd be married off by then)

11-11-2010, 06:37 PM
It depends what the original incident was. If it evoked a strong enough reaction from the other person then they'd have no trouble remembering it - for instance, you'd remember the face of the first person you fell in love with for a good while, or the person who shot you, or the person who caught your eye across the room when the bomb went off.

11-11-2010, 06:42 PM
I wouldn't. Yesterday I had to ask my wife the identity of the person in the big picture behind Stephen Fry on QI. It turned out to be Stephen Fry.

11-11-2010, 06:49 PM
I first met my sister-in-law when she was about eleven, She has distinctive eyes and high cheekbones. She's fifty now, and I could easily pick her out of a crowd. I sometimes go 10 years without seeing her.

11-11-2010, 06:55 PM
It is certainly possible.

Mr Flibble
11-11-2010, 06:55 PM
Well she witnessed him murdering someone, so I suspect it's all pretty burnt into his memory :D In particular, it's when he hears a certain phrase that was used in that incident (including her name) that triggers it. So not too out there?

I wouldn't. Yesterday I had to ask my wife the identity of the person in the big picture behind Stephen Fry on QI. It turned out to be Stephen Fry.


ETA: cos I just noticed. 10,000 posts! The world is going to end! The sky is falling! *runs round in circles*

11-12-2010, 07:15 PM
I think it is plausible.

11-16-2010, 01:17 AM
Definitely plausible. Last week I ran into my old neighbor's son. He hadn't seen me since I was 12, and I'm 27 now. He just stared at my face for a second, and then shouted, "Are you kidding me? (Insert name)!?!" He's in his sixties by the way.

I've also worked with a lot of children in the community, and it's not unusual to run into a former student 10-15 years later and recognize them. And some of them were only 8-10 years old last time I had seen them.

11-16-2010, 01:45 AM
I was going to post you a link to a face recognizer phone ap, which hasn't been developed yet, but I see that likely won't help:)

But, definitely possible! Some people's faces just stay the same. And some other people's memories are very good.

Makes me think of running into a classmate I had until I was 8. We were about 25, and hadn't seen each other since we were kids. She recognized me instantly. We talked for an hour; I still couldn't recognize her. It was totally freaky!

11-16-2010, 01:54 AM
It really varies from person to person, by how they age physically. Some change a lot, some not so much.

I think there may be some characteristics beyond just her face that would remind someone. A personal phrase frequently used, for example, might trigger the recognition. But from 11 to 18, for some people, I certainly think so.

You could scope around for pics on the Net, for family albums, or better yet, child stars over the years.

11-16-2010, 05:56 AM
It really depends on the person. Me, I could show you a picture of myself when I was 3 and you could still pick me out from a crowd (I'm 21 now). So yeah, it's perfectly plausible.

11-22-2010, 10:02 PM
Weirdly, just read a study that people with more education have a harder time remembering faces. Something to do with "overusing" the similar part of the brain. But some people's faces don't change that much.....

11-22-2010, 11:11 PM
I'm in the depends-on-the-person group. There are some faces I will recognize forever and then there are the people who seem to totally know me, can describe interactions, provide all kinds of details, and I'd still swear I'd never seen them before in my life. (happened once in a restaurant... the waitress was apparently in a class with me in high school, sat next to me, we talked almost daily, and I had no clue who she was 2 years later)

Mr Flibble
11-22-2010, 11:38 PM
Thanks guys. Knowing it's at least plausible gives me something to work on (the phrase and name will help, as will the fact that the incident is something they both remember indelibly, due to it being quite traumatic)

11-22-2010, 11:39 PM
My elementary school classmate recognized me when I was 18 (she hadn't seen me in 8 years). I didn't recognized her, though.

11-23-2010, 10:10 PM
I agree very much with the above "it depends"es. I'm told I look very similar to how I looked back in high school, although I'm not nearly as rolly-polly as I used to be.

I recently saw relatives I hadn't seen in decades and I recognized them, though not by name (I'm awful with names anyhow.).

Years ago, I also picked an old friend out of a crowd simply based upon his gait. But that's only happened to me the one time.

11-24-2010, 01:39 AM
It's pretty plausible. In October, I went "home" to an aunt's funeral and recognized many of the former kids who I had not seen in years. The same thing has happened to me often so it could work.