I was warned the test would be challenging to the point of being uncomfortable.
That made me even more determined to give it a go. After all, I reasoned, I'm a pretty visual kind of person.
I don't really have problems recognising my friends or people I've met, sometimes even when they're out of context. I can also visualise places I've been to only once, and I don't need a GPS to navigate to a new destination.
So, I should be okay at remembering and matching a few photos of faces I've never seen before. I could even have a super skill. Right?
To find out, I catch up with David White, a cognitive psychologist at the University of New South Wales' Forensic Psychology Lab.
Dr White studies face recognition, and is specifically interested in people at the top end of the spectrum, so-called super recognisers.
"Our ultimate goal in the basic science side of things is to understand how humans identify faces, how does that cognitive process work?"
Research suggests areas of our brains, such as the fusiform face area in the temporal lobe up behind your ear, are specifically primed to recognise faces.
And cognitive tests indicate it's harder to identify a photo of a face than an object when it's turned upside down.
There appear to be two different components to this system: the ability to encode a face, and the ability to match it to a person.
"The presumption is that when we see a face, we match it to stored memory representation," he says.
But, he says, while we do know there is something special about faces, we don't know why some people in the general population are better than others.
"Everyone's walking around with a slightly different system in their head, and they're all performing slightly differently on face identification tasks and we don't know how those two things are connected."
At the bottom end of the scale are people with face blindness — or prosopagnosia.
At the other end is Dragica Brayovic, who has an exceptional ability to recognise faces.
"I have the ability to recognise 80 per cent of faces in a lifetime rather than the average person that remembers 20 per cent of faces," she says.
"I just recognise people more often on a daily basis."
But, she says, she often doesn't tell people she recognises them.
"I think they get a bit thrown because it's either been a long time [since I've seen them], or I've just passed them or just casually met them."
Her dad was the first to pick up she had an uncanny ability to recall faces.
"We'd be out with the family and I would say to them 'Oh look that's so-and-so's brother that was in my sister's grade five years ago'. Then my dad would be just amazed at how I remembered," she recalls.
But she only found out for sure when she did some online tests.
"I didn't know it was a thing to have super recognition."
Science and the real world
The science of super recognition is in its infancy, says Dr White.
"It's quite a powerful finding that some people have got this natural talent, that obviously has many practical implications for how to improve security," Dr White says.
Face recognition is used for passport checks, CCTV security and criminal identification. The UK Metropolitan Police Force even has its own unit made up of super recognisers to help nab offenders.
"If you run these tests you can improve face recognition in the workplace and that's all fine and well, but I think that's happened in a kind of a vacuum," says Dr White, who has studied the face recognition skills of passport officers and forensic examiners.
"The science at the moment is just trying to catch up and get a broader understanding of what's driving these abilities."
There is evidence both super recognisers and forensic examiners trained in face recognition are at the upper end of human performance. But Dr White says the two groups appear to use different approaches. While trained professionals tend to perform better when they have time to make an in-depth, feature-by-feature analysis, super recognisers appear to use a quick, holistic process.
So far, research suggests super recognisers appear to be generally good at all types of visual tasks, but they are exceptionally good at face recognition.
They also appear to be better than the average person on tasks that do require memory, such as remembering a face, and those that don't, such as matching a person with their photo, suggesting the face identification does not purely rely on memory.
"So [this superior skill] seems to be something about the way they are seeing faces," Dr White says.
Let's start with the easy tests...
How will I know if I have a super skill?
Standardised face recognition tests such as the Cambridge Face Memory Test and the Glasgow Face Matching Test are no match for super recognisers.
"They're really designed to test people with face blindness. They're designed for the bottom end of the scale," says White.
"When you run these tests on these people that have these special abilities, or profess to have these expert abilities, you tend to find that most of these people will score about 100 per cent."
To give me a taste of what these face recognition tests are like, Dr White starts me on the Cambridge test.
This test uses studio images of faces with neutral expressions akin to passport photos to test your immediate memory (was this the face in the last image?) then your long-term memory (which of these six faces have you seen before?).
The first phase of the test feels relatively easy. I zone in on facial characteristics as a strategy and I'm confident I'm able to identify the faces.
But when the test progresses to the panels of six it starts to become harder to zone in on facial characteristics. I have the feeling I'm guessing many of the panels — and then the images are pixelated to add an extra layer of difficulty.
"If you thought that was hard, hang about," Dr White chuckles.
How to separate the best from the rest
To weed the best from the rest, Dr White has designed a new test using Facebook images taken with varied lighting, expressions and poses to mimic face recognition tasks in the real world.
"In a lot of situations where super recognisers being deployed they have to look through CCTV imagery or they have to compare photographs taken many years apart, and maybe photographs are taken from social media."
"That type of real world task wasn't really reflected in the current tests," he says.
"We've designed this test to be very challenging."
Dr White's research assistant Christel MacDonald, also a super recogniser, agrees.
She did the UNSW Face Test after scoring highly on the Glasgow and Cambridge tests.
"The face test is probably one of the hardest ones I've done because you are actually looking at Facebook images with poor lighting and different angles and that was very challenging for me," she says.
Until then she just thought she was a visual kind of person with the ability to remember actors from old films, recall vivid childhood memories, visualise places she's been to and good at navigating from memory.
"After I saw my scores I thought more about things that I didn't really think much about. I didn't think it was a special kind of skill I had," she says.
As a research assistant she's also watched students complete the test.
"A majority of people are fairly average at face matching and they tell me it was a hard task. Some people tend to think they are good and then I don't want to tell them their scores."
Taking the super challenge test
Like the Cambridge Face Memory Test, the UNSW Face Test is divided into two halves.
The first part tests my long-term recognition memory. I'm shown 20 faces one after another. At the end of that I'm shown another 40 images — half I've supposed to have seen before and half I haven't.
But with dodgy lighting, different angles, hair and clothing styles it's not as easy as it sounds.
And forget about trying to focus on a particular facial feature — all it takes is a little yellow lighting to obscure eye colour, or a slight tilt of the head to hide the shape of the brow, eyes, nose or prominent mole on the chin.
"Bear in mind the majority of people feel like they are guessing when they're making these responses so don't worry if you feel that way," Dr White reassures me.
The second part tests my ability to match faces — all I need to do is remember if any of the four faces in front of me match a face I've seen before.
"It's sort of like a Tinder-like set up where you drag the images that don't match to the left and the ones that do match to the right of the screen," Dr White explains.
It sounds easy but it's not — even with four faces in front of me. Many of the faces start to look like Doppelgangers. Self doubt creeps in. Have I seen that face before? Did the eyes really look like that? Is that the same person but with different lighting?
As time wears on, my concentration fades and I resort to guessing.
Finally, it's over. We tally up the scores.
And the verdict is in...
"I'm sorry to say, you're not a super recogniser," Dr White announces.
"But you can take solace in the fact that you're just as bad as the rest of us at this task."
Actually, I'm somewhere between guessing (55 per cent) and average (60 per cent). Which is also what my Cambridge Face Memory Test indicated.
To put that in perspective Christel scored 75 per cent and Dragica scored 81 per cent.
"People go into these tests a lot of the time suspecting they will be pretty good at them," Dr White says.
"I think that intuition maybe stemmed from the ease at which they recognise people in their daily lives like their colleagues and friends.
"The fact is, a lot of the really important tests that are done in the real world are of unfamiliar people.
"When you start to look at the range of difficulty you see in the real world, that's when you then see just how good people can be or how bad people can be."
So what tricks does Dragica use to identify people under these real world conditions?
"When I'm walking along the street it's more so just a quick observation of the face, but when I do tests I find I go straight to the eyes first, then the mouth area then the nose," she says.
"But just on the street I just quickly pick up on the detail like the eye shape or the space between the eyes or the shape of the nose for example."
I used similar tactics in the test but focusing on facial features clearly didn't work for me.
"I score just like you do and I find it impossible to understand how people do this," says Dr White.
"Don't forget I made the test and yet I don't know the answer — it's that challenging."
Are you a super recogniser? The faces in the photo above are: Michelle Obama, George Clooney and Ellen Degeneres. You can do the UNSW Face Test and participate in research online.
Hear more about super recognition on RN's All in the Mind.
If you have face blindness, go to the All in the Mind episode on prosopagnosia to find more information and links to research in this area.