Monday, July 14, 2014

The Friendly Memory Championship 2014, part 3

Everyone's favourite (everyone except me, anyway) - Names and Faces!

This has to be the discipline whose rules have changed the most over the years. The scoring, after many, many different versions of rules to penalise guessing, has finally more or less given up on that idea and become simple enough for people to understand, but the rules about what the names should be are still a little bit prone to change, or at least to fluctuations in difficulty from one competition to the next. For the record, they should be 'international' names, representing a random selection from around the entire world, mixed and matched so the first names, surnames and photos don't need to represent the same national or ethnic origin.

I'm not sure if that completely fulfils the requirement of being fair to everyone, but it's certainly better than the names all being English...

Photos, incidentally, will have plain white backgrounds - the selection on this slideshow come from many years ago, when that particular rule wasn't being enforced.

I'm no good at names and faces. I'm famous for it, and it's become my 'thing' now, so I'm clearly never going to get over the mental block. It is of course a 'natural memory' discipline, perhaps the most natural of them all, since it does involve recognising faces, and it's very hard to convert that concept into mental images. If we ever modify the Abstract Images discipline so that it becomes the kind of thing it was originally meant to be, I suppose that might become more 'natural memory', but maybe not.

Most people convert the names into images that they sound like, associate them with the way the face looks, place them on a journey, and so forth, but there's always going to be a lot of vagueness and improvisation involved. That's probably what the N&F experts out there like about it the most! Me, I still can't stand it. Sorry.


Lili Marlene said...

I think it is interesting how one can't find the controversial record of Daniel Tammet (formerly Daniel Corney) in this discipline from clicking on any of the links from the "Discplines" page at the stats pages of the World Memory Championships. It appears to me that someone decided to remove the stats for the old format 15 minutes discipline. The old format 5 minutes and the new format 15 minutes are listed, and there's an empty space just where the event in question would appear to have belonged. Interesting. And they've dropped the word "faces" from the name of the event that Corney did well in. In that event you have a lower ranking than Daniel Corney/Tammet, who wrote in his 2009 book Embracing the Wide Sky "In my own case, I have great difficulty remembering faces, even those of people I have known for many years", a claim that he has repeated many times. You must really suck at that discipline!

Zoomy said...

I don't think that's a deliberate omission, it'll just be a mistake on the statistics site. There's supposed to be a blank space in between the current disciplines and the ones we don't use any more. You can see the old-format 15-minute names records here:

Lili Marlene said...

How did you find that webpage?