ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

After all these years, isn't it amazing how Clark Kent can still wander through the streets of Metropolis with those chiseled features and bookish glasses and yet most people never manage to guess his true identity? Well, a new study indicates that people's obliviousness isn't that surprising after all. So, what's the super secret to perfecting your outer alias?

Answer: It's the glasses.

Smallville / The CW
Smallville / The CW

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A new study from University of York found that when people were presented with side-by-side images of faces, they could correctly identify the same people 80% of the time. That percentage dropped to just 74% when some of the people in the pictures were wearing glasses. Kay Ritchie, co-author of the study from the psychology department at the University of York put it in perspective:

A 6% drop in performance may not sound like much, but if you consider the number of people who go through passport control at Atlanta International airport every year — over 100 million last year — a 6% drop in accuracy equates to 6 million misidentifications.

Or, in the case of Metropolis (pop. 11 million), that's 660,000 people (plus the 2,200,000 that were pretty bad at recognizing faces in the first place) that can't tell the difference between this guy:

Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman
Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman

...and this guy:

The study found that people are so good at recognizing faces familiar to them that they often think they are just as good at recognizing other faces, but that isn't necessarily true. Ritchie added:

This robust ability to recognize familiar faces often leads us to incorrectly think we are good at recognizing all faces.

Since there are still so many people that insist that Clark's frames wouldn't be enough to keep the true identity of Superman adequately hidden, Henry Cavill himself decided to test to see just how easily people could recognize his face. He put on his freshest Superman t-shirt and wandered down to Time Square, where he spent the day drinking Starbucks and standing under the massive Batman v Superman posters.

The result? Not one person noticed him. He decided to post the following video of his study to Instagram with the caption:

Dear doubter, the glasses are enough. Regards, Superman.

Check it out now:

Do you think you'd recognize Clark Kent, even with his fantastic glasses?

Can't wait for Justice League? Check out this trailer breakdown talking about all the Easter Eggs lurking in the trailer from Comic-Con. Enjoy!

[Source: CNN, Henry Cavill via Instagram]


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