Can you name the famous actor being photographed in this picture? If so, you would correctly identified this photo of Hollywood's charming aspiring actor as Brad Pitt. Was this task easy? Many would agree yes, however people diagnosed with Prosopagnosia would not even have the slightest clue to answering my first question.
Prosopagnosia, also known as "face-blindness", is a neurological deficiency that causes an inability to recognize the faces of known individuals. Research has supported the idea that this deficiency originates due to damage in the cerebral cortices on the right hemisphere of the brain. This disability causes many social dysfunctions. Face-blindness traits are carried through dominant genes and can be inherited. This disability seems to be predominant in males however it can still effect women as well. To further understand the dilemmas people encounter with this deficiency, imagine looking in a mirror and every time seeing a stranger. How frightened would you feel?
Individuals with prosopagnosia have difficulty recognizing family and friends. People who have been reported to have this disability describe it as meeting everyone for the first time every moment of their lives. Strategies used to help distinguish others are voice recognition, clothing, hair, and at times sensory inputs (such as a known fragrance or the roughness of skin). It is a very difficult disability to live with but it can be dealt with in other manners to properly function within society. Individuals with face-blindness often do not realize that they have this deficiency. Because they have never been able to recognize faces normally, it is apparent to them. As a result, many older adults today function through life without ever mentioning or even realizing that they are impaired in some way.
Visit this website for a video demonstrating the everyday deficiencies within people with prosopagnosia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwCrxomPbtY