10 Brain Exercises for Seniors: Exercise #7 Recognition

It can be very unsettling when someone comes up to you and begins talking to you as if you were old friends, or at the very least you’ve met before, and you simply can’t remember who they are. It could be that you feel someone has a familiar face but you can’t quite place them in your memory. Maybe you have a job such as a nurse or doctor where you see quite a lot of patients but you can’t remember them the next time they come in or when you run into them outside of the office. It may take a few awkward moments to clear up the situation or you spend the rest of the day wondering if you really did know that person and what they must have thought about your lack of acknowledgement.

Facial recognition is a multifaceted type of memory. The process begins with basic visual information from your eyes being processed by your brain. Once this visual information reaches your brain it then gets sorted and stored in the fusiform face area, the area of your brain tied to facial recognition. We have covered some exercises such as Visual Sweeps, as part of our top ten brain training exercises for seniors’ series that focus on improving the first part of this process, the visual information. Luckily, there is also an exercise available to help beef up the fusiform face area of the brain.

The Recognition exercise targets the fusiform face area of the brain by having you identify individual faces from a group of options. The first few options will be relatively easy to identify as the individual is looking directly at you and the options to choose from are of both genders. Progressing through the exercise the faces will begin to turn towards a 45 degree angle, with more faces to choose from of the same gender. Challenging your brain in this manner is key to helping you remember more of the faces you see and help you avoid any awkward situations in the future. Being able to better identify the smallest differences between faces is one of the key areas to help improve your ability to remember people more accurately.

Free Brain Training Exercises
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Related Pages:
Different Types of Memory
Description of Recognition Exercise


DynamicBrain Inc. is the Canadian Partner of Posit Science Corporation providing brain fitness program, BrainHQ in English and French.