LOS ANGELES, CA - Would you be fooled by Superman’s disguise? Whether you’re running from the law or really going for it at a costume party, turns out that adding a pair of glasses could be all it takes to make you unrecognizable. According to a new study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, even slight changes to someone’s face, such as the addition of spectacles, can make it hard to identify someone we don’t know.
Researchers at the University of York showed volunteers side-by-side photos of strangers with glasses and then strangers without glasses. They could accurately tell if someone was the same person 80% of the time- until they were comparing someone who was wearing glasses with someone who wasn’t. Then there was a drop of 6%, which doesn’t seem like much, until you consider what it means for people like security guards at airports trying to match people to passport photos.
Researchers hope their findings can be, quote, “used by legal authorities to help inform future policies on identification for security purposes.”
We all think we’re good at recognizing faces because we’re good with familiar faces, but when it comes to faces we haven’t seen before, it’s a totally different story. So it makes sense that maybe Metropolis can’t recognize Superman, but Lois Lane really has no excuse.