Forgetting Faces

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Imagine how awful it would be to not be able to recognize your own mother's face. The short video clip about prosopagnosia we watched in lecture on Monday stuck with me most of that day. I started thinking about just how difficult it would be to be incapable of committing anyone's face to memory. When I look back to my first week of college last fall, I think I received a taste of what that must be like.

There were so many strangers all at once and so many new faces. My poor brain was so overwhelmed it kept changing unfamiliar faces into the faces of friends from home. I would meet someone at lunch, see them the next day and not have any memory of meeting them. After that week, I felt like I could slightly relate to Barry Wainwright when he said "the world is a sea of unfamiliar faces" in his 2008 Guardian article.


In his article, Wainwright describes how difficult it is to go through life not being able to recognize his wife and children's faces. Instead, he has learned to remember their clothing and walking styles. His wife has a bright red "supermarket jacket" so he can find her if they get separated.

Barry Wainwright's case is more extreme than many other examples. The fact that he is even incapable of recognizing his own face is hard for me to grasp. Your own face - something you see multiple times a day, every day, every year of your life - seems like something that would be impossible to forget. Even after doing some minor research online about how this disorder works, I suppose I still don't entirely understand it.


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This would be so awful! In the video we watched in lecture the part that made me the most sad was when the lady didn't even recognize her own face. I can't imagine not recognizing my own face! Have you read about any medication or treatments that help reduce or reverse this condition?

Nice article. I really love personal accounts of some of these conditions; I think it helps us to have more understanding...To not know your whole life too...

This phenomenon about how a person can had a disorder where they cannot recognize a person's face seems very strange to me. In the article the man talks about how he recognizes clothes and body movements, rather than, obviously, the person's face. This is so weird to me, because a human face is to everyone (except of course the people with this disorder) a very distinct feature. The fact that someone could know another person their whole life but having to tell them apart from another through recognizing their clothes, rather than their face, astonishes me.

That's really crazy how that works! How could you forget your own face? That would be miserable. Great blog though, it was interesting to read about. I hate that embarrassing moment when you forget somebodies face that you know you should recognize. That would get a little annoying. I like how he adapted though, in order to remember his wife and children.

It's so difficult to even grasp the concept of not being able to recognize faces. Makes me realize how lucky most of us are to not have to struggle through something so troubling! However, it's very encouraging to hear this man is finding ways to overcome this. But I also thought the video from lecture was pretty sad. The woman seemed disappointed when she saw a picture of herself and was told that was her face!

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This page contains a single entry by farre230 published on February 5, 2012 1:20 AM.

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