Visual Agnosia

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Even though we have completed our first psychology test I'm sure most of us remember when Professor Gewirtz mentioned the crazy book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat in his lecture. However, you may or may not remember that Oliver Sacks wrote the book and that it was about a man with visual agnosia.

Visual agnosia is a temporal lobe disorder in which a person has difficulty perceiving different objects. The term Agnosia is greek for "not knowing" and someone with this disorder can easily see the shape and color of an object but have an extremely hard time remembering the name of it [1]. For example, a person with visual agnosia would be able to understand, "please hand me the skinny, silver thing with a small, flat top and a fat, wooden handle" but they wouldn't be able to understand the simple asking of "please hand me the screwdriver". Visual agnosia is the most common form of agnosia and very similar to Prosopagnosia, a disease that makes it difficult for a person to recognize faces [2]. It is mainly associated with lesions in the occipital and temporal lobes [3].

Understanding diseases such as visual agnosia help in the complete comprehension of our central nervous system and the consequences the can come with brain damage. I choose to write about this topic because I find it extremely interesting. Its hard to imagine what life would be like if you were faced with the difficulties that come with this visual agnosia. Learning about this disease also makes me realize how we take the ability to perform simple actions, such as being able to give an object a name, for granted.

The video posted below is a perfect example of the difficulties a person with visual agnosia experiences.


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This page contains a single entry by guinn005 published on October 6, 2011 11:17 PM.

Split Brain Experiment was the previous entry in this blog.

Inattentional Blindness is the next entry in this blog.

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