Did you know that attractiveness interferes with the recognition of faces? Huh?

Well, according to psychologists at the University of Jena in Germany, a recent research study indicated that we tend to remember unattractive faces more than attractive ones. Don’t believe me (I don’t believe this either), check out the article in the Journal Neuropsychologia. They insist that unless there is a remarkable feature on the face, less of an impression will be left.

Then they talk about Angelina Jolie and how unsurprised they were at everyone recognizing her face. Dr. Wiese of the Friedrich Schiller University said “Her features combine many factors which contribute to the attractiveness of a face.” Then he said his research deals with the perception of faces, not recognition.

Their study showed photos of faces to their test subjects. Half of the faces were considered as being more attractive, the other half as less attractive and all of them thought of as similarly distinctive looking. Shown the faces only for a few seconds to memorize them, the subjects were then shown faces and had to decide if they recognized them.  The results now assume that the recognition in the case of attractive faces is distorted by emotional influences which exacerbate the recognition at a later time. A further interesting secondary aspect was that in the case of attractive faces, the study participants stated that they recognized a face without having seen it before. The scientists think that “we obviously tend to believe that we recognize a face just because we find it attractive.” Huh? I thought the hypothesis was that attractiveness interferes with recognition.

My two cents……we finally have a scientific reason for not recognizing people at our class reunions! A second thought…..boy, am I glad that this study wasn’t paid for by our tax money.