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Featured Can you visualise people easily?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by pjcnet, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. I can usually visualise people easily.

    30.2%
  2. I have some difficulty visualising people.

    20.9%
  3. I have a lot of difficulty visualising people.

    37.2%
  4. I can't visualise people at all.

    11.6%
  1. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member

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    Is it common for people with aspies to have difficulties visualising people? I would welcome comments and replies from everyone, but please only vote in the poll if you consider yourself an aspie.

    I assume that not being able to visualise people easily also causes recognition issues which would also make describing people seen in the past very difficult. I am able to recognise people I know well quite easily when I physically see them again, but I am poor at recognising people I don't know so well and it's very difficult for me to visualise people in my mind's eye. I may be able to visualise a quick flash of someone I know very well, but I can't bring the image back on demand and it's usually impossible for me to visualise lesser known people in my mind's eye at all. I can recognise my mother very easily when I physically see her, but even with someone I have known all my life I would still struggle to describe her to others and with lesser known people I usually wouldn't be-able to describe them at all.

    How visualisation issues once got me arrested:

    I have witnessed crime on a few occasions throughout my life in the UK, but once when I younger the police were convinced that I knew a group of shoplifters because I was apparently refusing to describe any of them after they happened to be standing close to me in an off licence (the UK name for a liqueur store). The group seemed friendly and also spoke to me outside the shop, but shortly later a shop assistant came running out shouting. The group suddenly ran off leaving me there alone and I was told by the shop assistant to wait for the police to arrive in order to assist them as the group had apparently stolen from the shop. When the police arrived I was shocked to be asked to pay for bottles of liqueur that had apparently been stolen. I obviously refused on the grounds that I hadn't stolen anything and was then taken back to the station for questioning (apparently this was officially voluntary as I was not under arrest at this time).

    At first the police seemed to believe that I didn't know the thieves and that I wasn't with them, but when they took a statement they started giving me an extremely hard time because it was literally impossible for me to picture or describe anything about the thieves (back in those days not all shops had CCTV). The police kept saying that I was obviously part of the group and they wouldn't believe me no matter what I said. Eventually they gave me an ultimatum to start cooperating or be arrested, but despite desperately trying my best under extreme pressure, I couldn't even remember if any of them were tall, thin, fat or anything else let alone facial details which they also demanded from me in a very aggressive manner. Unfortunately back then around 25+ years ago it didn't even cross my mind that this could possibly be related to aspies and instead I just got extremely upset while the police continued to lay into me without mercy.

    I ended up being arrested for a crime I obviously did not commit and knew nothing about until afterwards and was bailed to return (looking back I should have got a solicitor, but at the time I didn't feel I needed one since I'd done nothing wrong and I just wanted to get out of the police station as quickly as possible). The police had put me through total hell and I was afraid to even talk about it to my parents while I was on bail thinking that they would go "mad" also believing I was involved in the theft. On returning to the police station I learned that they had caught the real culprits and that in interview they had confirmed that I had absolutely no involvement. I however received no apology from the police for the terrible way I'd been mistreated and was simply told to, "stay away from people like that in future", which was ridiculous, I just happened to be in a shop when these strangers shop lifted near me and I didn't even know they'd done it until later.

    PS: I am using English UK spellings for words such as visualise (spelt visualize in the USA).
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  2. The Midge

    The Midge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It sounds like situation when you could really do with an alert card. It would have saved a lot of explaining.

    I have trouble remembering faces particularly out of context (if I know someone at work at bump into them somewhere else I have difficulty in remembering who they are!). I think I would have difficulty in providing a description of someone I only saw on one occasion too.
     
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  3. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Even people I know really well, their faces are very hazy in my mind. I sort of get a gist of what they look like, but it is many part of their features; whether the hair style or colour; but it is like their face is out of vision for me.
     
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  4. Laughingowl1975

    Laughingowl1975 Well-Known Member

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    I can visualize people to a fair degree but it can be distracting and the image in my head can become distorted or even muddled with someone else. I always see people in my mind like a still shot but something is always not right (hair too short, nose too long etc.).
     
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  5. Full Steam

    Full Steam Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can visually pretty well, and I rarely forget a face.

    I recognise people in films often having seen them in one thing. Much better than most NTs.

    Some one I know well I can replay clips of them.
     
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  6. WereBear

    WereBear License to Weird V.I.P Member

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    Turns out if I cannot, they wind up being sociopaths. So use it as an advantage.
     
  7. onlything

    onlything Gathering pieces V.I.P Member

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    I can remember the silhuette but the face itself is a blank sheet of paper for me. The only thing that helps me recognise people is the hair or sometimes eye colour. That's why, unfortunately, most black, asian or muslim people, especially women, look the same to me.
     
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  8. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member

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    Wow, pjc!! That is so awful. I am so sorry they treated you that way. As to the question, I have prosopagnosia , or face blindness. I can visualise (visualize----hehhee) people though, which I find odd. If I know them, I can . But if I see them every day I don't have face blindness for them. It is so odd. Actually, I better think about this further before I can answer 100% but I did want to just say you did NOT deserve what they did to you!!
     
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  9. Katleya

    Katleya A bit of an acquired taste V.I.P Member

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    That's a terrible story. I wonder how many people, probably NT, are equally unable to describe other people in a similar context, but will give a random description driven by the pressure to conform, leading to the wrong person being arrested.

    I can't properly visualize my parents or boyfriend of more than a decade, so it is safe to say I don't visualize people so well. I'll be able to recreate a mental image of their overall shape, but the face will always be a little blurry --that being said, I don't recognize faces, so it has to be linked.
    Now, people I don't know... on occasions, I can reach that same "overall shape" level of recognition, but they need to have something particularly striking for that, otherwise I will be at a loss, except for their height. I'm obsessed with people's height, for some reason, so that always sticks in my memory.

    I've ran to, and greeted, my mother on the street near my old apartment, except it was a girl with the same hair color, body type and clothing style, a good 30 years younger than my mother (I must have been about 25). As a kid, I lost sight of my mother for a few seconds, and then sighted her hair and went to hold her hand, but nope: it was just a man with long hair that looked like hers. You can imagine the horror and panic.
    There was also this guy, once, who blocked my way on the street (I mostly look at the ground to keep my balance), and whichever way I would try to move, he would move in the same direction. My expletive-filled version of "Move out of my way" was met with "Err, honey, it's me". Not recognizing my boyfriend near our place isn't my proudest moment. As for the occasional meeting with a friend? They'll come pick me up, or I'll show up earlier at the restaurant and wait there, otherwise I'm likely to not find them.
     
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  10. Gritches

    Gritches Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Wow, I'm really sorry to hear about that incident, that's the kind of thing that will really screw with you, so sorry.

    But I can't visualize people at all. I actually worry about ever being prompted to describe a person, because I recognize people by their hair, mostly. Like, if someone puts a hat on I might not recognize them, at least not at first. Everyone is their own unique "shape" and I can recognize that too once I've seen a person enough times, but that takes a while to develop. But faces? I couldn't begin to describe my mother's face. Totally blind to that.
     
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  11. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member

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    Wow, this is sounding like another aspie trait that I never even knew about.

    I've never thought about it before, but no, I can't visualize people. At all.

    I can visualize rooms, I can imagine what a room would look like with different decorations, rotate it in my mind. I can visualize data, picture the trends. I can visualize software.

    But somehow not people. When I try to recall a person, it's really just a blur. I can't easily recognise people I know either. It's not that I forget the names, it's that I don't recognise them at all.

    I do recognise trends though, today I saw someone on the train with a similar face to Amal Clooney, I see them as patterns. But can I recall their face now? No.

    How interesting.
     
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  12. Rasendra

    Rasendra slytherin V.I.P Member

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    I struggle with this too. It seems like an easier thing for NTs though because I have been in situations where I don't know certain 'apparently obvious' details that lead to ridicule of my myself or at the very least extreme surprise that I don't know.

    Once while working someone was looking for a coworker and asked me where he was. I was running the 'front desk' of sorts for the moment an no other coworkers around so I was on my own. I didn't even know who the coworker was and apologized to them saying I wasn't sure. They proceeded to describe him to me at which point I became nervous because I had no idea who they were talking about but they seemed to think I should know easily. Then they say something like 'well he is the only (they identified his race which I can't remember at the moment) working here right now' but unfortunately I still didn't know. They gave me weird looks and eventually walked away but it was super uncomfortable and made me feel a bit stupid to not know.

    I don't know how much is due to avoiding eye contact and just not getting good looks at people's faces but I often can't describe eye color/race/ etc if the person isn't standing in front of me which peers always seem to know as if it is obvious.
     
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  13. kestrel

    kestrel Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My brain seems to process most everything visually. I can visualize people after I mentally draw them.
     
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  14. Sherlock77

    Sherlock77 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I often have people approach me in public who know me, but I don't remember them, but then I meet lots of people through my photography, and that goes back 10 years or more... I often meet people who tell me I photographed them seven years ago, depending on the person I've long forgotten, sometimes I remember them...

    Recently I was hanging around outside a local flea market, a lady walks rapidly by me saying "Hi James!" without stopping... A couple of minutes later I was still in the same spot, same thing "Hi James!", I'm still racking my brain trying to figure out who she is... o_O

    Women in particular confuse me, they tend to change hairstyles far more often than men... As I tend to recognize people by body size and dimensions, scars, hairstyle and such, although some people have very distinct faces that are much easier to remember...
     
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  15. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I just want to add, that I was preoccupied yesterday and so, did not actually read all of what you said and it was only scrolling down and see all the " wow sorry about that", that got me re reading and I feel so sad for you!

    Unfortunately, in my limited experience with the police, they either add to emotional pain, or cause that pain!

    It is understandable that they thought you guilty, but to not apologise is disgusting! What it says is they knew they had made a mistake, but not "man" enough to actually admit it and thus, throw out an inane comment about not hanging around with bad people, which NATURALLY gets us aspies protesting!

    I have had two negative encounters with the police. Basically, I say I was sexually abused twice. The child protectio team came to see me. I was 21, but VERY immature and they demanded I relate all that had happened to me as a child and I was not allowed to make up names for sexual parts of the body. It never occured to them, to ask a young woman to give them intimate details about her father!

    The other time was when I was dating my husband. He had been in a relationship, but decided that it was not for him and then, well, apparently found he could not stop thinking about me and so, what resulted was a blind jealous rage with his ex and I was accosted several times by her two girls. One time, sadly, in defence, I had pushed one of the girls away from me and she hit a wall and caused minor damange, but phoned the police and charged me with physical abuse! I had phoned several times, but because there was "no evidence" they did not want to know. Did not have mobile phones at that time.

    I was called in for questioning, but they must have detected some form of truth from me, because they dismissed me with: just keep out of her way. Mmm a tad difficult, because I lived in the same area; in fact, the flat was opposite theirs! I also would be doing my daily things and she would impede on me!

    From what I am gathering, the police are even worse today than then.
     
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  16. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    I can visualise people very easily, I have very vivid mental pictures of everything. I'm also excellent at recognising faces, even behind extreme makeup and costumes.
     
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  17. Adora

    Adora Well-Known Member

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    I do struggle with visualising or remember some people I know faces,I remember a while ago my Husband’s friends girlfriend who I have seen on numerous occasions came up to me while I was at the shops I didn’t recognise her face and she had to tell me who she was,the most embarrassing one was when I came across my wedding photographer and my husband had to point out that he did our photos for our wedding a few years ago.
     
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  18. Adora

    Adora Well-Known Member

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    Actually my husband pointed out to me that he believes the reason why I may struggle with recognising peoples faces is because I don’t look them in the eyes so maybe that could be a reason.
     
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  19. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Depends on whether or not I'm paying attention and what detail I'm paying attention to.

    Generally speaking someone's 'packaging' is unimportant for me.
    Unless it's a really well tailored item of clothing they're wearing - I appreciate attention to detail and colour.
    So I'd be less likely to remember enough detail to describe someone if I wasn't interested in what they looked like.


    On the other hand, when I'm curious enough I can remember features quite accurately. Not the face as a whole, animated thing belonging to such a person but parts of it.
    Eye shape, colour, bone structure, nose shape, symmetry, hair line and style and so on.

    But I have to be paying attention in order to remember any of it or the details just fade into the hundreds of other faces out there.
    Much more interested in someone's mind and views than what they look like.
     
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  20. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everyone who has replied and voted in the poll, it's an interesting response. So far I can conclude that although a good number of aspies have varying difficulty in visualising people, a fair number also don't and out of these a few are actually especially good at visualising people which is particularly interesting.
     
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