Name = Prosopagnosia
MeshID = D020238
Prosopagnosia (sometimes known as face blindness) is a disorder of
face perceptionwhere the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be relatively intact. The term usually refers to a condition following acute brain damage, but recent evidence suggests that a congenital form of the disorder may exist. The specific brain area usually associated with prosopagnosia is the fusiform gyrus. [http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/02/02/face.blindness/index.html Face blindness not just skin deep - CNN.com] ]
Few successful therapies have so far been developed for affected people, although individuals often learn to use 'piecemeal' or 'feature by feature' recognition strategies. This may involve secondary clues such as clothing, hair color, body shape, and voice. Because the face seems to function as an important identifying feature in
memory, it can also be difficult for people with this condition to keep track of information about people, and socialize normally with others.
Some also use the term "prosophenosia", which refers to the inability to recognize faces following extensive damage of both occipital and
temporal lobes. cite book
last = Paulev
year =1999 - 2000
title = [http://www.mfi.ku.dk/ppaulev/chapter4/chapr_4.htm Textbook in Medical Physiology And Pathophysiology Essentials and clinical problems]
publisher =Copenhagen Medical Publishers
id =ISBN 87-984078-0-5 Chapter 4. Brain Function, Locomotion And Disorders] cite journal
title = Nervous System Pathways
journal = Biol 2401 A & P Lecture Notes
url = http://iws.ccccd.edu/mweis/BIOL%202401/Lecture/2401%20Lecture%20Notes/AP_2401_chapt15_nervapp.htm ]
Selective inabilities to recognize faces were reported throughout the 19th century, and included case studies by Hughlings Jackson and Charcot. However, it was not named until the term "prosopagnosia" was first used in 1947 by
Joachim Bodamer, a German neurologist. He described three cases, including a 24-year old man who suffered a bullet wound to the head and lost his ability to recognise his friends, family, and even his own face. However, he was able to recognize and identify them through other sensory modalities such as auditory, tactile, and even other visual stimuli patterns (such as gait and other physical mannerisms). Bodamer gave his paper the title "Die Prosop-Agnosie", derived from classical Greek "πρόσωπον" (prosopon) meaning "face" and "αγνωσία" ( agnosia) meaning "non-knowledge".
The study of prosopagnosia has been crucial in the development of theories of
face perception. Because prosopagnosia is not a unitary disorder (i.e., different people may show different types and levels of impairment) it has been argued that face perception involves a number of stages, each of which can be separately damaged. Dissociable deficits after brain injury by Newcombe, F., de Haan, E.H.F., Small, M. & Hay, D.C. in cite book
first =Andrew W.
title =Face and Mind
publisher =Oxford University Press
id =ISBN 0-19-852420-X ] This is reflected not just in the amount of impairment displayed but also in the qualitative differences in impairment that a person with prosopagnosia may present with.
This sort of evidence has been crucial in supporting the theory that there may be a specific face perception system in the brain. This is counter-intuitive to many people as we do not experience faces as 'special' or perceived in a different way from the rest of the world.
There is some debate about the specificity of both face perception and prosopagnosia and some people have argued that it is just a subtype of visual
agnosia. Whilst prosopagnosia is often accompanied by problems with recognising visual objects, cases have been reported where perception for faces seems to be selectively impaired. cite journal
first =Whitely, A.M.
coauthors =Warrington, E.K.
title =Prosopagnosia: A clinical, psychological and anatomical study of three patients
journal =Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=874515&dopt=Abstract ]
It has also been argued that prosopagnosia may be a general impairment in understanding how individual perceptual components make up the structure or gestalt of an object. Psychologist
Martha Farahhas been particularly associated with this view.
Until early in the 21st century, prosopagnosia was thought to be quite rare and solely associated with
brain injuryor neurological illnessaffecting specific areas of the brain. However, some evidence suggests that there may be a form of congenital prosopagnosia in which people are born with a selective impairment in recognising and perceiving faces. The cases that have been reported suggest that this form of the disorder may be highly variable and some newer research suggests that it may be heritable and much more common than previously thought (about 2% of the population may be affected). [Kennerknecht I, Grueter T, Welling B, Wentzek S, Horst J, Edwards S, Grueter M. "First report of prevalence of non-syndromic hereditary prosopagnosia (HPA)." "Am J Med Genet A." August 1, 2006;140(15):1617-22. PMID 16817175.] cite journal
month =26 March
title =New Scientist
url =http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7174 ] It has been suggested that very mild cases of face blindness are much more common, perhaps affecting 10% of the population, although there have not been any studies confirming this. The inability to keep track of the identity of characters in movies is a common complaint. [ [http://www.faceblind.org/ Prosopagnosia Research Centers at Harvard University and University College London ] ]
A classic case of a prosopagnosia is presented by "Mr. P" in
Oliver Sacks' 1985 book " The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". Although Mr. P could not recognize his wife from her face, he was able to recognize her by her voice. His recognition of pictures of his family and friends appeared to be based on highly specific features, such as his brother's chipped tooth.
"Apperceptive prosopagnosia" is thought to be a disorder of some of the earliest processes in the face perception system. People with this disorder cannot make any sense of faces and are unable to make same-different judgements when they are presented with pictures of different faces. They may also be unable to work out attributes such as age or gender from a face. However, they may be able to recognise people based on non-face clues such as their clothing, hairstyle or voice.
"Associative prosopagnosia" is thought to be an impairment to the links between early face perception processes and the semantic information we hold about people in our memories. People with this form of the disorder may be able to say whether photos of people's faces are the same or different and derive the age and gender from a face (suggesting they can make sense of some face information) but may not be able to subsequently identify the person or provide any information about them such as their name, occupation or when they were last encountered. They may be able to recognise and produce such information based on non-face information such as voice, hair, or even particularly distinctive facial features (such as a distinctive moustache) that does not require the structure of the face to be understood. Typically such people do not report that 'faces make no sense' but simply that they do not look distinctive in any way.
"Developmental prosopagnosia" is thought to be a form of 'congenital prosopagnosia', and that some people are born with a selective impairment in recognizing and perceiving faces. The cases that have been reported suggest that this form of the disorder may be highly variable and there is some suggestion that it may be hereditary.
* It is known that there are many
Developmental disorders that incorporate within themselves an increased likelihood that the person will have differences in face perception, of which the person may or may not be aware. That is to say, the person may or may not have insightin the clinical sense of the word. However, the mechanism by which these effects take place is largely unknown. A partial list of some disorders that often have prosopagnosiac components would include nonverbal learning disorder, Williams syndrome, and " autismspectrum" disorders in general. However these types of disorders are very complicated, so arbitrary assumptions should be avoided.
Unconscious face recognition
One particularly interesting feature of prosopagnosia is that it suggests both a
consciousand unconscious aspect to face recognition. Experiments have shown that when presented with a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar faces, people with prosopagnosia may be unable to successfully identify the people in the pictures, or even make a simple familiarity judgement ("this person seems familiar / unfamiliar"). However, when a measure of emotional response is taken (typically a measure of skin conductance) there tends to be an emotional response to familiar people even though no conscious recognition takes place [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=6483172&dopt=Abstract Bauer, R.M. (1984)] Autonomic recognition of names and faces in prosopagnosia: A neuropsychological application of the guilty knowledge test. "Neuropsychologia", 22, 457-469]
This suggests emotion plays a significant role in face recognition, perhaps unsurprising when basic survival (particularly security) relies on identifying the people around you.
It is thought that
Capgras delusionmay be the reverse of prosopagnosia. In this condition people report conscious recognition of people from faces, but show no emotional response, perhaps leading to the delusional belief that their relative or spouse has been replaced by an impostor.
In the 2007 short romantic drama movie
In Vivid Detailwhich was written and directed by Dara Bratt, a love story between a young woman and a man suffering prosopagnosia was depicted. The young woman, Leslie, was performed by Piper Peraboand the man suffering prosopagnosia, Justin, was performed by John Ventimiglia. The movie participated in the Tribeca Film Festivalin 2007.
In an Ally McBeal episode, A Kick in the Head, a defendant has symptoms similar to prosopagnosia when he mistakes his wife's head for a soccer ball.
An episode of
Picket Fencesportrayed a man suffering from prosopagnosia who shot his brother, claiming he believed him to be an intruder.
Recognition of human individuals
Temporal lobe epilepsy
* Bruce, V. and Young, A. (2000) "In the Eye of the Beholder: The Science of Face Perception." Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-852439-0
*cite book | last = Cante | first = Richard C. | title = Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture | publisher = Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0 7546 7230 1. Chapter 7: The Gay Visage (and Related Forms of Thought) | month = March | year = 2008 | location = London
* Farah, M.J. (1990) "Visual agnosia: Disorders of object recognition and what they tell us about normal vision". MIT: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-06238-0
* cite journal
month =December 2
title =About face
month =October 19
title =Your mother's smile
url =http://www.igottheconch.com/index.php?title=Face_blindness#2 Evidence mounts that making, and perhaps recognising, expressions is inherited
month =February 5
title =Face blindness not just skin deep
* [http://www.faceblind.org/ Additional information on face blindness] , from
Harvard Universityand University College London.
* [http://www.emedicine.com/NEURO/topic365.htm Detailed information on temporal lobe impairment] , the site of the source of face-blindness
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2099-2495870,00.html "The Sunday Times": Identity crisis] Article published
17 December 2006
* [http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg18524924.700 "New Scientist": Face blindness runs in families]
* [http://www.icn.ucl.ac.uk/facetests/ Face Recognition Tests] - online tests for self-assessment of face recognition abilities.
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/mind/stories/s1569688.htm What’s in a face?] - transcript of a show from ABC
Radio National's "All in the Mind" program from February 2006
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1211572-1,00.html Do I Know You?] - "Time" magazine article published July 2006
* [http://humangenetik.klinikum.uni-muenster.de/prosopagnosie/Prosopagnosia.html Information in several languages]
* [http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/blind.html "Face Blind"] - "Wired" article
* [http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Prosopagnosia Prosopagnosia] information at
* [http://hsf.bgu.ac.il/avidan Congenital Prosopagnosia-Visual Perception Lab] , ,Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
* [http://www.choisser.com/faceblind/ Face Blind!] , Bill Choisser, 2002.
*Face-blindness as a result of
temporal lobeinjury is described by Dr. Daniel Amen in his book, "Healing ADD", with includes case histories.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Prosopagnosia — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Prosopagnosia, del griego πρόσωπον: aspecto, y de ἀγνωσία: desconocimiento. Termino acuñado en 1947 por el médico Joachim Bodamer, quien la definió en los siguientes términos: “Es la interrupción selectiva de la… … Wikipedia Español
prosopagnosia — /pros ō pag nōˈsi ə or ˈzi ə/ (psychiatry) noun The inability to recognize faces of persons well known to the sufferer ORIGIN: LL prosopagnosia, from Gr prosōpon face, a without, and gnōsis knowledge … Useful english dictionary
prosopagnosia — [prō΄sō pag nō′sē ə, prō΄sō pag nō′zē ə] n. a type of agnosia in which a person cannot recognize familiar faces * * * … Universalium
prosopagnosia — 1950, Medical Latin from Ger. prosopagnosie (1948), from Gk. prosopon вЂњfaceвЂќ (see PROSOPOPEIA (Cf. prosopopeia)) + agnosia вЂњignoranceвЂќ (see AGNOSTIC (Cf. agnostic)) … Etymology dictionary
prosopagnosia — s. f. [Medicina] Perda ou perturbação da capacidade de reconhecer rostos. ‣ Etimologia: prosopo + agnosia … Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa
prosopagnosia — [prō΄sō pag nō′sē ə, prō΄sō pag nō′zē ə] n. a type of agnosia in which a person cannot recognize familiar faces … English World dictionary
prosopagnosia — Eng. Prosopagnosia Dificultad para reconocer las caras que son familiares, característico de las lesiones temporooccipitales derechas … Diccionario de oftalmología
prosopagnosia — noun A form of visual agnosia characterised by difficulty with face recognition despite intact low level visual processing. Also known as PA. Syn: face blindness … Wiktionary
prosopagnosia — Difficulty in recognizing familiar faces. [prosop + G. a priv. + gnosis, recognition] * * * pros·op·ag·no·sia .präs əp ag nō zhə n a form of visual agnosia characterized by an inability to recognize faces * * * proso·pag·no·sia (pros″o pag… … Medical dictionary
prosopagnosia — pro·so·pa·gno·sì·a s.f. var. → prosopoagnosia … Dizionario italiano