Table of Contents
What is the medical condition known as Prosopagnosia?
Signs & Symptoms
What is the condition known as Prosopagnosia?
Prosopagnosia also known as “faceblindness” is an impairment that prevents you from seeing familiar faces. There is evidence that some impairments only impact face recognition. Other aspects of face processing can also be affected by many people, including the ability to estimate one’s gender or track one’s eye movements or general navigation. Prosopagnosia patients can identify objects in their daily lives. This is a good example of the above claims. But they were unable to identify family members through conversations with them (Meadows & Co., 1974).
Acquired prosopagnosia. Apperceptive prosopagnosia can be further subdivided in to associative and apperceptive prosopagnosia. Apperceptive Prosopagnosia is a condition that prevents people from distinguishing familiar faces from unknown ones. They have trouble identifying facial emotions (Biotti. Cook. & Cortex. 2016). They may still be able identify people using non-face clues like their hairstyle, dress, or skin tone (Barton Cherkasova and Press, Intrillgator & O’Connor 2004).
Associative prosopagnosia describes people who lack perceptual skills but have difficulties linking their early facial perception processes to the semantic information stored in our memories. This means that prosopagnosia sufferers may be able recognize facial information, but not other information such as age and name.
Congenital Prosopagnosia (CP)
This condition is also called Developmental Prosopagnosia. This prosopagnosia can occur in childhood, lasts a lifetime, and is dependent on intact sensory functioning. CP patients are able to recognize faces but cannot identify them. CP, unlike AP can be missed because the person doesn’t have a standard basis for processing normal faces (Behrmann & Avidan 2005). People with CP can adapt over a lifetime so they are more adept at using features like hairline and eyebrows to identify themselves.
Prosopagnosia symptoms and signs These are just a few of the many symptoms:
They cannot recognize family members or familiar faces.
They are timid
They have trouble making friends
They may be introverted at school but are confident at their home.
Prosopagnosia Causes. The condition was previously studied in those who were affected by neurological damage (typically stroke or head injuries) and only a few cases were found in the literature. It has become apparent that prosopagnosia can be experienced by many people without neurological damage. This disorder is also known as “congenital” or “developmental prosopagnosia. It causes a lack of normal face processing abilities. Developmental prosopagnosia sufferers have faced recognition problems for their entire lives and possibly even since birth. There is evidence that this condition could be genetic. Many people are aware of at least one person who has experienced recognition difficulties.
Some people can cope with face recognition problems well and have developed compensatory strategies to make it easier for them to function in daily life. Some people’s daily functioning is affected more than others. Some people report experiencing depression or problems in their relationships with others. Prosopagnosia patients may experience social anxiety disorder. This is where they fear social situations and avoid them.
There is no specific treatment. Any treatment should help the prosopagnosia patient develop compensatory strategies. Adults with the condition can be trained to use other clues to identify them.