Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prosopagnosia


(Greek: "prosopon" = "face", "agnosia" = "not knowing")


There’s just so many things about us and our world that grab my attention and creative mind.  One such thing that I came across while watching the movie Faces in the Crowd (starring Milla Jovovich, 2011) where she unfortunately is inflicted with a brain disorder known as Prosopagnosia - in which she is no longer able to recognize faces.  I simply can’t imagine not being able to recognize my sister’s face.


Reports as far back as the 19th century have been made but it wasn’t until a German neurologist in 1947 that the condition was given its name.  It’s fascinating to me that every time we look at a face - any face, especially a familiar face it is as if we are looking at it for the first time.  Our brain begins to review the catalog of stored images in our memory in order to make a visual connection.  This action takes place in like a millisecond!

There are three categories of this disorder:

Apperceptive prosopagnosia is thought to be a disorder of some of the earliest processes in the face perception system.*

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.*

Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is a face-recognition deficit that is lifelong, manifesting in early childhood, and that cannot be attributed to acquired brain damage.*

I’m tripped out by the idea that this can be hereditary!  Nevermind receiving a brain injury but being born with this?  It must be so difficult to have a child or even be that child that suffers with this condition. Growing up unable to recognize your parents, friends, teachers... with the only thing that gets you by is relying on their gestures, stance, walk, and other characteristics to make the association. Imagine looking into a mirror and not being able to recognize your own face...

Has anyone ever heard of Prosopagnosia before?  Has anyone ever encountered a person that was inflicted with this?  I’d love to hear from you!

*Resource: Wikipedia
Thanks for reading!

~Dee
Live life and you would want Life to be lived! ~deyanira villalta

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