What Is Prosopagnosia? The Disorder That Prevents You From Recognizing People’s Faces

What is prosopagnosia or face blindness disorder? Discover one of the rarest psychological disorders and how it affects not recognizing people’s faces.

Prosopagnosia: The disease of not recognizing faces

Most of us when we think about the people we love, we imagine their faces in our minds. But those who suffer from prosopagnosia They cannot identify and recognize each of the faces of the people around them. This psychological phenomenon, sometimes called face blindness, is usually a condition that ends up harming the social skills of the person who suffers from it.

What is prosopagnosia?

The prosopagnosia Known as face blindness, it is a psychological condition that causes people to have great difficulty recognizing both facial cues and the places around an individual.

In this way, in addition to not being able to identify the closest friends, family or loved ones, people also cannot recognize your own face. So much so that to compensate for this disorder of not recognizing faces, those who suffer from prosopagnosia are often forced to develop different ways of identifying people.

This psychological disorder occurs very rarely, so much so that the most recent research suggests that only about 2% of the general public may have some level of prosopagnosia.

Types of prosopagnosia

According to research into this very strange mental disorder, there are two types of prosopagnosia.

  • Congenital prosopagnosia: In some cases, people who suffer from prosopagnosia are born without the ability to recognize people’s faces. Despite this impairment, it is very possible that children who have this type of face blindness often do not realize their inability to recognize the faces of others until they are much older. According to research, some children with autism may have this face blindness or these problems not recognizing faces. The inability to recognize faces can contribute in these cases to having fewer social skills.
  • Acquired prosopagnosia: In various studies it has been proven that acquired prosopagnosia exists. In these cases, people may suffer from face blindness due to brain damage from a head injury, stroke, or certain neurodegenerative disorders. When a person ends up having acquired prosopagnosia, he can regain the ability to recognize again people’s faces.
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Symptoms of suffering from prosopagnosia

Symptoms of prosopagnosia

Obviously the prosopagnosia symptom It is the inability to recognize people’s faces or your own face. But this disorder of not recognizing faces can manifest itself in various ways.

  1. Not recognizing people’s faces: The first symptom that people with prosopagnosia usually present is precisely face blindnesss. But this not only happens at first glance, but they cannot be recognized in photographs either.
  2. Inability to describe faces: When a person cannot describe their face or the faces of others, it is a clear sign that they may suffer from prosopagnosia.
  3. Confusion regarding the plot in movies or plays with numerous characters: The fact of not recognize people’s faces It hinders the ability to follow the plots of certain artistic works in which there are many characters.
  4. Feelings of disorientation in crowded places: Not being able to recognize people by their faceindividuals with prosopagnosia often have a lot of confusion in places with crowds.
  5. Avoid meeting people: One of the main problems of people who suffer from prosopagnosia It is the fact that they try to avoid meeting people at all costs due to this added difficulty they present.

Causes of the disease of not recognizing faces

Causes of prosopagnosia

There are various theories that attempt to explain the causes behind prosopagnosia. Studies regarding this strange disorder are scarce, but there are some proposed theories about the origin of face blindness. One theory states that this problem is usually the result of damage or deficiencies in the right fusiform gyrus, the part of the brain that coordinates the neural systems that control facial perception and memory. On the other hand, in the cases of congenital prosopagnosiathis is usually related to genetics.

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What is the treatment of prosopagnosia?

The prosopagnosia It is currently incurable, for this reason treatment usually focuses on alternative solutions such as trying to learn other coping skills to be able to recognize others without seeing people’s faces. In this way, it is vital that those people with prosopagnosia Go to a professional psychologist for everything that can cause this disorder. Besides, suffer from prosopagnosia It can lead people to end up isolating themselves from others because they cannot recognize their faces. In many cases, this can lead to feelings of alienation and depression.

Techniques to alleviate prosopagnosia problems

Use Contextual Cues:

  • Clothes and accessories: Pay attention to what people are wearing. Clothing, jewelry, glasses, and other accessories can be useful indicators.
  • Voice and Ways of Speaking: Recognizing people by their voice, accent, tone or rate of speech can be very useful.
  • Hairstyle and Hair Color: These can also be distinctive identifiers that help recognize people.

Focus on Distinctive Characteristics:

  • Facial Marks: Moles, scars or freckles can be used to identify someone.
  • Body Shape and Posture: The way someone moves or holds themselves can be a clue.
  • Specific characteristics: Details such as the shape of the eyebrows, the size and shape of the nose, or the shape of the mouth can be distinguishing characteristics.

Use of technology:

  • Facial Recognition Applications: There are apps and programs that can help you tag and remember faces.
  • Photos with Tags: Using your phone to take photos of people you see regularly and labeling them with their names and some relevant information can be useful for quick review.
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Develop Social Strategies:

  • Ask Politely: If you don’t recognize someone, you can learn to ask indirect questions to get clues without hurt feelings, such as “Remind me of your name again, please.”
  • Obtain Prior Information: If you are going to an event where you know you will meet several people, you can ask for photos in advance and review the names.

Create Routines and Structures:

  • Visual Agenda: Keep a visual agenda with photos of people you are going to see that day.
  • Groups and Environments: Associating people with certain places or groups (such as work, the gym, etc.) can help you remember who is who.

Practice Close Observation:

  • Visual Memory Exercises: Playing games and activities that improve your ability to observe and remember visual details can help.
  • Mindfulness Techniques: Mindfulness can help you focus more on the details present and improve visual memory.

Seek Professional Support:

  • Cognitive Therapy: Working with a therapist specializing in neuropsychology or an occupational therapist can help you develop personalized strategies.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups for people with prosopagnosia can provide you with helpful advice and emotional support.

Education and Awareness:

  • Inform Others: Don’t be afraid to tell friends, family and colleagues about your condition. This can help them be more understanding and offer help when needed.

Although the prosopagnosia presents significant challenges, with the use of various strategies and techniques, it is possible to better handle the daily difficulties related to facial recognition. The key is to find the techniques that work best for you and adapt your approach to different situations. If you need further help, do not hesitate to seek the support of a health professional.