So why is this Fusiform Face Area (FFA) so important?
First, did you ever have a time when you saw an old friend, acquaintance, or stranger but recognized them?
That’s the FFA working it’s magic.
Why do we tend to forget names but not faces?
It turns out that this area gives us the familiarity of people’s faces and the ability to recognize people.
It even let me find an old acquaintance.
I went on the bus with my housemate and we were on our way back to the apartment, as class ended.
However, I noticed someone in the front row that looked like someone from my days back in high school.
At first, I thought the better of it and decided to not talk to her.
Then, I kept thinking about the way she was dressed (all black) and how that person back in high school looked so familiar.
So, I got lucky. I got a break.
The person sitting next to her went off a couple of stops before mine.
I quickly took that seat.
I tapped her on the shoulder.
I asked her, “Hi, you’re from [insert my high school]…”
Her: “[insert my high school] right?”
She finished my sentence! It was definitely her. And without even introducing myself again, she said, “Hey Matt.”
We still knew each others’ faces even though it has been five years since the last time I saw her.
So we caught up about what we were doing for the last few years for a few minutes before my stop came.
Taking action ensured that I’d never have to ask, “Was the girl on the bus really someone I knew back from high school?”
And by the way, she just added me on Facebook after I asked her. Now I have a choice to catch up with her even more. Total acceptance.
So if there’s something to learn from this, trust your instincts because the FFA remembers faces extremely well.
Besides, who cares if it’s the wrong person?
Isn’t that a nice opener idea for a stranger anyways?