This is the page for Daniel Corney (AKA Daniel Tammet) at the website of the World Memory Championships (WMC):
According to the book Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer, Daniel Corney "won the gold medal in the names-and-faces event" in the World Memory Championships, presumably a reference to winning this event in the competition of year 2000, and I have verified this is true from other sources, but at the above linked to web page there is no mention of this event. Corney's triumph in this part of the competition is a matter of controversy because he has claimed in media interviews and also in at least one of his books that he has a serious disability in recognizing faces, which is a scientifically recognized disability known as prosopagnosia. In one journal paper co-authored by the apparently quite eccentric University of Cambridge professor Simon Baron-Cohen it is revealed that Daniel Tammet (AKA Corney) performed at an "impaired" level in a test of face recognition with was a part of investigations of Tammet. Prof Baron-Cohen has probably done more to popularize the idea that autism and Asperger syndrome is linked to poor face recognition ability than any other autism expert. Baron-Cohen also diagnosed Tammet with Asperger syndrome, so he'd have a thing or two to explain to everyone if Tammet didn't display and claim to have inadequate face recognition ability. Baron-Cohen's idea is far from safe because Foer and I have found an abundance of evidence that Tammet/Corney actually has face recognition ability that works just fine. This is one reason why I'm feeling quite disappointed at the way that the website of the WMC appears to be less than forthcoming with one crucial fact about former competitor Daniel Corney.
Click through from the Daniel Corney page, on the link that leads to the details of his results in the year 2000 competition, and you will find this page:
and what do you know? The controversial event is listed here, in red, apparently because it is an "old" event, and the full name of the event is not used. I'm guessing that this event was left out of Daniel Corney's personal page on the premise that it is an "old" event. I can't see why this is a reason to omit a record of a long-past event. It was a current event in 2000, and surely that is all that matters in a record of this past championship. That event was Corney's highest achievement in the WMC, he won the event in the year 2000, so it seems doubly odd that mention of it is left out of the page that is a record of his participation in the WMC. Corney's fantastic performance in this event wasn't just a "flash in the pan" because he did also well in it in the previous year's competition, coming in at rank number four in 1999, which was the first year that he participated in the WMC. Corney seems to have a natural talent in this event! How very strange, considering his later claims. At the above linked page the event in question is named "Names" and the controversial word "faces" is left out of the whole thing. I think is really quite misleading, because, as I understand it, this event is primarily a task of memorizing names linked to faces. In the book Buzan's Book of Mental World Records by Tony Buzan and Ray Keene this event in the 2003 championships is described on page 45: "Discipline four was Names and Faces in which competitors are presented with sheets of photographs to memorise. This time Andi Bell took first place with Astrid second and the reining American Champion, Scott Hagwood, in third." This is definitely the same event as "old 15 min Names" written in red. It certainly looks like this event is a test of face recognition. For a WMC participant to show a consistent talent in this event and winning ability, but in later years to claim to have a face memory impairment most certainly requires an explanation. Perhaps the event can be won using some other type of memory besides pure face memory. I have only been able to find the scantest descriptions of how this brief event was conducted, and I'm not sure whether or not the memorized names and faces were tested in the same order that they are memorized. If they were, that could possibly allow for this event to be done using a mnemonic strategy rather than face recognition. An explanation is needed. I'm not asking for a public hanging, just an explanation of how Daniel Tammet managed to win this event in 2000.
To help to conceal the truth about any person who has been incorrectly diagnosed as having Asperger syndrome, prosopagnosia, "savant syndrome", synaesthesia or exceptional natural memory ability is an evil thing to do, because this misleads the grand project of science, including the medical and psychological sciences. In the modern world science is the means by which people and essential human institutions understand the world. To f***-up science is to f***-up human knowledge, upon which human society bases many very important decisions affecting the welfare of citizens. Sure, it is a great laugh that so many scientists have been so severely fooled (or kept deliberately silent) for so long, and it is an education to see the extent that the Tammet story has become a part of scientific knowledge, but it is still wrong, a lie. When anyone makes a fool of science, they award free kicks to the many powerful and dangerous interests and groups in society whose business it is to attack science - the climate-change deniers, the anti-vaccine flake-bars, the alternative medicine shonks. There are real and frightening consequences when people trash the reputation of the scientific enterprise.
Arguably, the most immoral aspect of this joke is the way that so many people, some of them vulnerable, have apparently been misrepresented. There are plenty of people in the world who actually do have a serious issue with recognizing faces, who do genuinely meet diagnostic criteria for autism or AS, who do display genuine savant skills, or who do experience genuine inborn or acquired synaesthesia. If Tammet is indeed a fake in all these areas, then we can say that for a bunch of different disabilities or psycho-neurological variations the most famous representative in the world is a faker, a grand misrepresentation. I know that if I were a prosopagnosic I'd be totally f***ing fuming if I knew that I was being represented in the public eye by a pretender who wrote the sentence "A familiar face, my friend Rehan, was waiting for me at the airport.” in his autobiography. You can have a severe disability in face recognition and still be able recognize a friend at an ariport? Doesn't sound like too much of a disability, does it? Maybe it is just another bit of nonsense that people make up, like restless legs or ADHD, don't you think? And this Daniel Tammet character is supposed to be autistic, but he's hugely popular and has a successful career and handles media interviews with great skill and grace. Makes one wonder if this autism thing is a bunch of nonsense. Disability? Where is the disability? Don't you think this autism caper is a bunch of rot? Actually, I think a lot of the stuff written about it is rot, but in my opinion, the WMC is just as big a pile of piffle. Its high time that everyone cut the crap and owned up.