The average person can recognise about 5000 faces, a study has found.
Researchers gave participants an hour to list everyone whose face they could recall - including those whose name they were unsure of. They were also shown thousands of photos of famous people, including actors and politicians, and asked which they recognised.
On average, the participants recalled 362 faces they knew personally during the hour, and recognised an average of 290 famous faces.
By extrapolating from the data - on the basis that the participants knew more faces than they were able to recall in the hour -the University of York researchers arrived at the average of 5000.
Even the person with the lowest recall knew around 1000 faces, while the person with the best memory knew 10000. Dr Rob Jenkins, of the university’s Department of Psychology, said: “We haven’t yet found a limit on how many faces the brain can handle.”
The research was published in the journal Royal Society Proceedings.