Having a Hard Time Recognizing Someone? Experts Reveal the Reason Behind this Condition

Dec 08, 2015 11:40 AM EST | By Pao Uychiat


Walking on the streets on a nice sunny day and many of us might bump into people we know. Most of them we may recognize right away, because of their hair or their entire face or even their voice. However, there are cases where we can't recognize anything at all. Don't be alarmed if this situation happens to you. According to Indian Express, a team of scientist said that about 1 to 2 percent of people have congenital face blindness. This is a condition in which a person is unable to recognize others using their facial features.

Scientists said that the causes of congenital face blindness can be traced back to as early as the perceptual process. Each person has a unique face. This is crucial in forming a person's identity and interpersonal communication. The situation however, is different for people with

Congenital prosopagnosia, or face blindness. These people are unable to use facial features to identify the person in front of them. Every day, people with this condition are able to focus on other things to recognize others instead of the facial features. They focus on hairstyle or a person's distinct character appearance. On the other hand, the true extent of this condition can be evident in social situations. People affected with this condition needs to interact with others because of their job. In this situation, the researchers estimated about 1 to 2 percent of people are affected with this condition.

Recently, the reason for this condition was assumed to be connected with the later stages of perceptual process. This is the stage where the facial information is converted into an abstract code in the mind for long-term storage.

Andreas Luschow from Charite University led a team of researchers that focused on a group of people who have a severe problem recognizing familiar faces from a young age. However, they found that there is no evidence of any other cognitive impairment. Luschow said, "We were able to show that even the earliest face-selective responses, those recorded approximately 170 milliseconds after seeing a face, are altered in people with congenital prosopagnosia; we were also able to show that these changes are closely linked to their deficit in recognising faces."

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin and the University of Bamberg joined the researchers in using MEG or magnetoencephalography to measure the cortical activity. They found that even with longer contact with others doesn't mean that you will not suffer this condition. This results suggest that there are neural mechanisms that are divided into distinct units which makes the other areas of the brain to function.

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