London Police Using 200 Super-recognizers: What Makes Them “super”?

NFL’s future in London, Joe Philbin’s winning ways and more

Information: . Meanwhile, cheerleaders, drumlines and stars and stripes are set to take over Regent Street on Saturday. The London thoroughfare will be traffic-free ahead of Sundays American football game at Wembley Stadium, pitting the Minnesota Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some of the players will be at the block party, too. Information: . (Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News . The opinions expressed are their own.) Muse highlights include Frederik Balfour on the Asian art market and Jeremy Gerard on New York theater. To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at . To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at . Ana Mendieta Michael Bodycomb/Collection Ignacio C. Mendieta/The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection/Galerie Lelong/Alison Jacques Gallery via Bloomberg “Itiba Cuhababa,” a cave sculpture by Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta made during a visit to her native Cuba in 1982. Mendieta is the subject of a Hayward Gallery exhibition in London through Dec.

5. It has been the NFL’s belief that to even consider entertaining a full-time franchise in London, American football would have to rank in the top five in the UK. Yes, it’s close now, but getting to the level of cricket, rugby and tennis won’t be easy. That’s why, from Parsons’ perspective, a methodical approach is best. The early signs are good. Parsons was very surprised with the demand for tickets and how quickly the two 2013 games sold out . “We got a statement from the fans,” he said. The NFL responded by expanding its annual fan fest into an event that’ll close over a mile of Regent Street (the rough equivalent of Fifth Avenue in New York) on Saturday, from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus, with a half-million people expected to pass through. And this year, Parsons said the opportunity is there to tell the NFL story between the two games, then continue it on British television into the playoffs. After that, the league’s plan is to take a step back. “We want to make sure we evaluate the impact of having two games first,” Parsons said. “We’re not going to keep doing it if we don’t have the impact we’re looking for. Now, if we have a good experience with the two, we’d like to have two games next year, and the question is whether we can play more than two. You also have to have teams that want to participate. The more fans we get, the more confident we get, the more opportunity we’ll have to bring the real game.” Remember, it took six years to add a second game.

PC Paul Hyland a Metropolitan Police super-recognizer poses for photographs beside computer screens at the force’s New Scotland Yard headquarters in London on Sept. 18, 2013./ AP London police officers at Scotland Yard have reportedly been getting helped by a new breed of police-officers with special skills: “super-recognizers.” The Associated Press reported Friday that since 2011, about 200 London police officers have been recruited into an elite squad of super-recognizers that search crime surveillance photos in the hopes of identifying suspects based on perps they’d seen before. Super recognizers were responsible for nearly 30 percent of the 4,000 people who were arrested following the 2011 London riots , according to the report. “When we have an image of an unidentified criminal, I know exactly who to ask instead of sending it out to everyone and getting a bunch of false leads,” Mick Neville, Detective Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard who created the unit, told the AP. Just what exactly makes someone a super-recognizer? Richard Russell, an assistant professor of psychology at Gettysburg College in Pa., led a 2009 study that coined the phrase “super-recognizers.” He theorizes people with this superior facial recognition ability are on the other end of a spectrum from people who suffer from another condition called “face-blindness,” or prosopagnosia. In face-blindness, people have an inability to recognize familiar faces, even of celebrities and people they know well. Russell told he does not believe super-recognizers are doing anything dramatically different than average people when they look at someone to recognize a familiar face. He thinks they don’t hone in on someone’s eyes or a specific feature to recognize someone better than a typical individual would, he said. “We don’t really know whether they are doing something qualitatively different than other people. I assume they are not,” said Russell. “It might be a quantitative difference — still using the same kind of processes, but maybe they’re better.” One of the goals of facial recognition research is to understand which cues are leading people to identify a face. It could be a difference in how a person processes the color contrast between the lips and skin or the distance between parts of the face that leads to this recognition, he postulated.