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    I'm reviving this old thread because during recent years, many links on face blindness or Prosopagnosia (aka Facial Agnosia) have appeared on the internet, including this article from medicine.net. The TV show "60 Minutes" also did a segment on being face blind.

    Unfortunately, when a person does not recognize others society may chalk it up to a personality shortcoming such as a lack of interest in others, being unfriendly, cold, distant, or indifferent.

    Here is a link to a current thread on Aphantasia, or inability to visualize. On that thread, several posters have mentioned face-blindness. It is possible that the two may be somewhat related; It describes experiencing an inability to visualize anything including faces, and how some compensate with other skills in order to recognize people.
    1. Can you picture my face?
    No. But itís not personal.

    2. So you donít know what I look like?
    I know facts about the characteristics of your face. If you have radiant blue eyes, I may have stored that information. I know the ďessenceĒ of your face, but Iím unable to project it visually in my mind because thereís no screen.

    3. So you donít recognize me when you see me?
    I do. Exeterís MRI results suggest that the process of putting a name to a face can be separated from the process of mentally generating a face from a name. In programming parlance, I have a hash table.

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    Originally Posted by indigo
    It describes experiencing an inability to visualize anything including faces, and how some compensate with other skills in order to recognize people.

    The people with aphantasia seem to recognize other people when they see them. I'll happily speculate that they store the images of faces in their minds but can't access them in order to create an image (e.g. their image creation software doesn't work).

    This isn't the same process as recognizing Mary when they see her. So perhaps in this situation, they access images of faces the same way that unaffected people do. If I meet my sister, I don't have to "recall" an image of her to recognize her. I just know it's her. Faceblind people can't do this (but can they see an image of the beach in their minds? Is there a difference in their ability to create an image in their minds compared to unaffected people?).

    Going down the path a bit, what if someone with aphantasia meets an old high school classmate 25 years later and the person looks different? Is their ability to recognize this person the same as a "normal" person's, or is it better or worse? Does it depend on multiple factors?

    The Facebook author said that he can't remember stuff that he had done. I wonder if photos or verbal/written descriptions would stimulate his memories (i.e., I'm wondering if the memories are there, but he can't access them the usual way). Would hearing the songs from the musical he forgot he saw help him remember he'd been there? Dunno.

    Last edited by Val; 04/26/16 10:33 AM. Reason: More detail added
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    I just took the test and got 68%--seems consistent with mild face blindness.

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    I gave up when i only got one of the first 20 or so correct. The thing was though i knew Jennifer Anniston was the girl from friends but not her name. In me i think it is actual face blindness plus not looking at faces. I wonder if it coukd be improved with drawing the face lessons? I have an added problem that I pair people in my mind. I may know you are Sue or Mary but not which. To be fair some of them i was only vaguely familiar with what tbey looked like - we didn't have TV when Reagan was round and not being in the US i wasn't that interested in some of the other.

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    Thanks, indigo, for bringing up this thread.

    I believe DS has some form of face blindness. Earlier this year, at park day, he took a spare set of clothes with him. His plan was to say hi to his friends, sneak into the bathroom and change clothes, and pretend he was someone else. He was convinced his friends would not recognize him in his new clothes. He recognizes his close friends and family, but not people he sees infrequently (but frequently enough that he *should* recognize them). But he also can't remember names very well, so it's hard to know if he doesn't recognize the face or remember the associated name, or perhaps both. Needless to say, this adds to his general anxiety in social situations.

    I asked him this morning, and he does not have aphantasia. I'll have him look at the face blindness test.

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    I posted this link on the current related thread on aphantasia. It includes a questionnaire on mental visualization, which is probably a closely-related skill.

    http://www.eugencpopa.ro/wp-content/uploads/Afantazia-.pdf


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    Originally Posted by KnittingMama
    He recognizes his close friends and family, but not people he sees infrequently (but frequently enough that he *should* recognize them). But he also can't remember names very well, so it's hard to know if he doesn't recognize the face or remember the associated name, or perhaps both.
    This sounds like more of a global retrieval deficit, since it's not restricted to faces. Close friends and family are overlearned, and replete with context cues, which is probably why he can recognize them.


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    I don't think DD has aphantasia but she does have retrieval issues (for example, poor fluency when it comes to math facts and handwriting) and she has been known to get people's names mixed up, faces, etc. Sometimes she will see one of her uncles and think it's a different uncle (people that we see once or twice per year).

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    My DS "got in trouble" (not BIG but little trouble) with a teacher earlier this year because some classmates were at an exterior door, wanting to come in, and DS wouldn't open the door. He said he didn't recognize them so he didn't open the door, as they've been instructed.

    He swore up and down he didn't recognize them. His teacher found this a dubious claim, because those classmates have been seated near him all year.

    DS says he "doesn't pay attention to things like that." I wondered, then, if this was a real thing, or if he was just being a pain.

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    What is it called when you don't actually notice people to recognize them? Like, when you're out in a public place and you don't even see someone until they say hi to you, and you look at them, and then you recognize them?

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