and your name is..? oh hi, mom.
September 11, 2011 9:20 PM   Subscribe

tactics from other dyscalculaics about improving face-name recognition?

i have an awful time with face-name association, like most dyscalculaics.

i've found ways to get other pieces of information into my head in ways that i can use them (such as: speaking number combinations aloud reroutes them through my verbal centers, thus allowing me to memorize the sequence almost instantly), but i cannot for the life of me figure out how to re-route my problems with face-name association.

mine's pretty severe; if i haven't seen someone's name and their face in a while, i'll totally blank. this cropped up yesterday while i was tagging family photos. i couldn't think of my brother's girlfriend's name, and they've been an item for like five years. i mean, come on.

other potential factors: i'm super-visual. i make my living as a graphic designer, and i have a right-on instinct for color and chromatics. i am also a good dancer, in that i can translate patterns into movement pretty instinctively, but if anyone tells me to dance the names into my head i'm gonna assume it's comedy.
posted by patricking to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Consider using an SRS like Anki. I'm not just suggesting it out of the blue, I'm sure I've read it suggested before that you can use SRSs effectively to memorise faces, names, family relations etc.

If you remember names of famous people, celebrities, characters etc., you could associate people you know with them. For example, if you know someone named Tyler, imagine them as the protagonist of Fight Club. Know a Mark? How would he look like if he played Luke Skywalker?
posted by Senza Volto at 10:12 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Would you consider a technical solution? Smartphones have address books that can store the names, contact info, vital statistics (like birthday, anniversary, etc.), and picture of everyone you meet. I recall another question someone asked earlier this year about the etiquette of asking people if they'd pose for a photo so he could input their info to his iPad for reference. The general response was very understanding and mostly accepting, saying it wouldn't be awkward for him to ask as long as he was ok with some people not wanting to have their picture taken.

Anyway, taking advantage of the tech available as a sort of patch solution may also help your brain 'reroute' and better handle this type of issue.
posted by carsonb at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2011

The previous question Carsonb referenced. That said: sketch the people when you get a chance? (Assuming you don't want to run around asking to photograph everyone.
posted by Su at 12:33 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

that's perfect; i have no idea why i never thought of it. sketching is the answer. if i draw it i know exactly what it is and when it happened. taking a picture gets about halfway there, but it's a passive sort of looking rather than "active" looking. thank you, carson, for mentioning that post.

also, i would like everyone to bask in the idiocy that is me marking my boyfriend's answer best on ask mefi rather than actually asking him in the first place. i was writing this in bed next to him last night.
posted by patricking at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Just in case it wasn't clear, you can use any image in electronic address books, so if you sketch a person, you can take a picture of the sketch or scan it in and use that as their address entry picture.) Good luck!
posted by carsonb at 5:33 PM on September 12, 2011

i got it. easiest thing to do will be to snap 'em and then sketch 'em later, or if i'm staring at them while cataoging in iphoto, jot out a quick sketch. doesn't matter if i actually keep the sketch, it's the making of it that cements it in memory.

thanks for pointing that question out, carson. i hadn't seen it, and it's about 2/3 of the answer.
posted by patricking at 8:45 PM on September 12, 2011

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