Do You Find it Difficult to Recognize Someone ! Face Blindness

Just like color blindness, where one can't distinguish colors correctly, face blindness is a condition where one can't distinguish between faces. It is a type of autism known as Prosopagnosia or facial agnosia. There is no defect in the eyes of people suffering from this disease as they can see objects perfectly, but just can't recognize faces. To understand this fact, just ask yourself if you can distinguish between faces of two monkeys of similar stature. Most probably the answer will be no, as your brain is not designed to distinguish their faces. Similarly some people can't distinguish between human faces as some part of their brain don't process that information.

How do our brain recognize faces ?

Our brain analyses and stores the information about different facial features, such as nose, eyes, color of eyes, cheeks, skin color, hair style, color of hair and then store all of that information as set to recognize a face. Even voice of a person is stored with its face in our brain to recognize him / her. Even if some features don't match next time due to makeup, haircut or hair color then our brain use remaining features to match the face with stored faces in its database. We even use this feature to recognize blood relatives of a person. For example sometimes you can easily distinguish if a kid is son/daughter of a particular person just by looking at his/her facial features.
Some people come to know that they are suffering from Face Blindness only when they read about it in any science journal. Suddenly they realize that they can't recognize faces of characters in a movie or faces of their co-workers.
Do people suffering from Face Blindness, use voice to recognize people ?
However you may find it possible, but people suffering from Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness) find it difficult to recognize voices. Inability to recognize voices is called phonagnosia, where one person can't distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar voices. It is because the portion of our brain which recognizes our faces is also responsible for voice recognition.
According to a study one in every 50 is suffering from Prosopagnosia. The severity of condition may vary. Most of them remain unaware that it is a medical condition and feel that their memory is getting weak.
How does Prosopagnosia occur in some people ?
The problem of face blindness either occurs in the childhood or occur as a result of brain injury or trauma. Sometime an unrelated brain surgery can also also result in prosopagnosia. Researches are still going on to find if face blindness is due to lack of some connections or due to inability to use connections that are available. Fusiform gyrus is a part of brain held responsible for face blindness. Clotting of blood in this area of brain during a stroke can also result in face blindness.
People suffering from Face Blindness often live in fear that some important person in their life might feel unimportant, if he/she don't get recognized by him/her. Several other social consequences can occur as result of non-recognition or mis-recognition.
How do people suffering from Prosopagnosia distinguish people ?
People suffering from Prosopagnosia use alternative ways to recognize people. The take help of hair style, walking style, body language, height and clothes to identify a person.
Worst part of Prosopagnosia is when you mistake yourself as someone else in mirror, and then realize after sometime that its really you.
When it comes to treatment, sometimes it may get resolved on its own but sometimes don't. If it doesn't then you may need to find some alternative ways to recognize a person.
Note: Prosopagnosia in kids often results in shy behavior as they find themselves unable to recognize people.
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