How many faces do you retain in your memory?
If you add up your immediate and extended family, schoolmates, friends, co-workers, and celebrities that you know through movies, television and the internet, you might easily be able to list a few hundred faces that you’d recognize on sight. But the real number of faces stored in your brain may be much higher than that.
For the first time, researchers have pinned down the number of faces that people remember; the findings come from a small study of 25 people ages 18 to 61 years old. The answer: 5,000 on average and up to 10,000.
The scientists tested participants’ ability to recognize the faces of people the subjects knew personally and the faces of famous people, finding that the participants could identify 5,000 faces on average as being “familiar” to them.