To all the socially awkward guys out there: Sorry, the odds are stacked against you. Women are better than men at remembering new faces, a new study finds.

Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada have discovered the mechanism by which women attain a superior ability at facial memory recall. It's called episodic memory, and it deals with our ability to mentally replay a past event in our heads.

Women develop this heightened ability through a process of facial scanning, the researchers found. They hooked up a device akin to a helmet on their subjects and fixed the device with two mounted visual trackers. These trackers followed each subject's eye movements as the researchers presented them with a series of faces. Later, the researchers showed subjects random faces one by one and asked the subjects to recall whether they had "met" the face before.

Women outperformed men by a slim margin.

"Let's say you just were introduced to 10 new people," offered Jennifer Heisz, author of the study, to NBC News. "On average women would recognize seven faces, whereas men would only recognize five or six faces."

Women accomplish this feat by absorbing more information, which they store in their episodic memory for later use.

While the researchers offer an explanation as to how women remember faces more skillfully, they present scant information as to why. Heisz posits that women might be more socially engaged than men — thus necessitating the heightened recall — or perhaps the two sexes process visual information differently.

But there's a silver lining, fellas.

As Heisz added to NBC News, "Additional exposures to the faces reduced sex differences in face recognition, which suggests that males may be able to improve their recognition memory by extracting more information at encoding through scanning."

In other words, practice, practice, practice. Meeting a person for the first time often overwhelms your senses. Focusing on the subtleties of a stranger's face — the slope of her nose, the contours of her cheeks, her eye color - allows you to compartmentalize individual traits you can recall in an instant the next time the two of you make each other's acquaintance.

"There's so much going on when you are first meeting someone, right? You have to learn their face — and this is a really complex thing," said Heisz. "It's not surprising that some of us struggle with this."

Source: Heisz JJ, Pottruff MM, Shore DI. Females Scan More Than Males A Potential Mechanism for Sex Differences in Recognition Memory. Psychological Science. 2013.