Prosopagnosia

What is prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder where patients lose the ability to recognise faces. Prosopagnosia is also known as ‘face blindness’ or ‘face agnosia’.  Depending upon the extent of disorder, some people with prosopagnosia may only have issues with face recognition, others will not be able to tell unfamiliar faces apart, yet in the more extreme forms others may not be able to recognise a face as different from a regular object.  In some cases some people cannot eve recognise their own face in a mirror or photograph. Prosopagnosia is not related to a memory impairment, visual problems or a general learning issue, rather it is thought to be the result of abnormalities in the right fusiform gyrus (a brain region specific to facial recognition).

Causes of prosopagnosia

The causes of prosopagnosia are variable, including a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or certain neurodegenerative diseases. In some cases some children can be born with it, even though there is no evidence of brain injury. Congenital prosopagnosia can be present in families, suggesting that there can be some genetic mutation involved in these cases. It has been suggested that some degree of prosopagnosia is often present in children an autism spectrum disorder and that this may be contributing to some of the issues with social skills related to this spectrum of disorders.