Sunday, June 6, 2010

Face Blindness

Out of all the objects we see in a lifetime, we see faces the most. We unconciously can recognize aspects about people based on their faces such as their identity, mood, age, gender, race, and state of attention. Can you imagine not being able to recognize anyone's face? When the abillity to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be intact, is a disorder of face perception known as prosopagnosia. Prosopganosia is caused from a stroke or genetic disorder. It is not uncommon to have a stroke in the lateral fusiform gyrus of the right hemisphere, which destroys the face processing capacity. Victims who suffer from facial blindness usually can not recognize their own faces.

Although, their is no conscious recognition taking place for people with this disorder, they may still have emotional responses to people they see that would usually be familiar to them.

The quickest way to identify someone is using their face because the brain has a special processor that will identify the person you are looking at within milliseconds. But, what are other ways to recognize someone who suffers from prosopagnosia? You may simply ask who they are, the sound of their voice, body language, ask leading questions, sometimes clothes, and people tend to speak about things they have talked about before is helpful in recognizing people.

The video below shows a woman who suffers from prosopagnosia. She is seen taking a picture of her mother, and then moments later has pictures infront of her, including the one she took, and is asked to identify her mother. Enjoy!


  1. Prosopagnosia seems such a crazy disorder. I was reading this one book were this guy had a stroke and had lost the ability to recognise peoples faces, even his own wifes. I could not amagine jow it would feel if my own spouse wouldn't even recognise me?

  2. I also did my post on face blindness and I can't imagine having to live with this disorder. It must be so hard to go through life and not being able to recognize the people you are with everyday.

  3. This disorder is very mind boggling to me. I can not imagine going through my life meeting someone and then the recollection of their face gone the next time I see them. This must be very rough on families with relatives affected by this.

  4. I agree, if i suffered with a life where everyone appeared to me a stranger I would have a very difficult time. Its a lot more than not being able to recognize someone, but you can get hurt. You must become less trusting of people because people who know you have the disease can severely take advantage of you. I would be so upset if I couldn't recognize my husband in a room full of men. This disease must certainly affect those much more than I could ever fully understand.