When it comes to meeting people, one of the first things we notice is their face. Facial features and expressions can tell you a lot about someone. Over your lifetime, you’ll run into hundreds of people. What you don’t realize is that you can recognize many more facesover a thousand, in fact.

Face To Face

One study in Britain states that we can recognize thousands of faces. It may some a bit absurd, but our brains work in mysterious ways.

“Our study focused on the number of faces people actually know — we haven’t yet found a limit on how many faces the brain can handle,” said Dr. Rob Jenkins. 25 students from the University of Glasgow and University of Aberdeen took part of this experiment.

A Thorough Investigation

For this study, people were first asked to name everyone they’ve known. This was mainly a list of family members, close friends, and other acquaintances. Next up, they were asked to name every celebrity they know from the top of their head. Their names were placed in numerous categories, including TV, music, and politics.

To make things interesting, researchers gave their memories a good workout. They showed 3,000 celebrities to see how many their subjects recognized. When it was all said and done, an average person at the study was able to recognize around 1,000 faces.

You Look Familiar

While 1,000 faces is phenomenal, we have it in our system to remember even more. Some people can store up to 5,000 faces in their memory. Most of these memories have to do with how we were raised. Many of the participants came from different backgrounds. “Alternatively, it could reflect different social environments — some participants may have grown up in more densely populated places with more social input,”  Jenkins said.

As expected, this ability could dwindle as we get older. “Perhaps we accumulate faces throughout our lifetimes, or perhaps we start to forget some after we reach a certain age.” Jenkins said.