This post from Section 23 on eyewitness identification reminded me of work at the University on prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces. On Wednesday, we'll see a video of a woman with this condition. I was shocked to learn that it may be more common than previously thought.
"Imagine you're a school-aged child and this is your reality: You go to school and nobody looks familiar; your classmates are essentially a sea of faces, none of which is recognizable from the day before. A girl walks over to chat and she seems to know a lot about you, but you can't place the face--and she seems equally perplexed, if not a bit agitated. "
"Then, at a family gathering, you find out that the strange faces in your house are actually cousins, although you wouldn't know them from your classmates, whom you wouldn't know from anyone else on the street. "
"The condition is known as prosopagnosia, or "face blindness," and according to U professor Al Yonas, it may affect 1 to 2 percent of the population. The problem is, very few people are aware of it, which makes proper diagnosis problematic. Yonas is hoping to change that reality."
So think about it. Imagine a police line-up, where they want you, the eye witness, to identify a criminal. What if you were one of those 1-2% of people who don't realize they have prosopagnosia? Would justice be served? Would you be able to identify the culprit?
The image above is from the original article. According to the caption, there is one recurring face in each row...can you see it? Are you ready to be an eyewitness?