Navigation Links
Tests for 'face-blindness' reveal disorder may not be so rare

Researchers at Harvard University and University College London have developed diagnostic tests for prosopagnosia, a socially disabling inability to recognize or distinguish faces. They've already used the new test and a related web site (www.faceblind.org) to identify hundreds of "face-blind" individuals, far more than scientists had identified previously.

The researchers, led by Ken Nakayama and Richard Russell at Harvard and Bradley Duchaine at University College London, have found evidence that prosopagnosia, once thought to be exceedingly rare, may affect up to 2 percent of the population -- suggesting that millions of people may be face-blind.

"Until a few years ago, only 100 cases of prosopagnosia had been documented worldwide, but it now appears the condition is much less rare than had previously been assumed," says Nakayama, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Testing of 1,600 individuals found that 2 percent of the general public may have face-blindness and a German group has recently made a similar estimate. It's conceivable that millions of people may have symptoms consistent with prosopagnosia, without even realizing it."

Tests developed by Nakayama and colleagues display dozens of images of cars, tools, guns, houses, and landscapes, along with close-cropped black-and-white pictures of faces. Some of the images recur during the cycle; subjects are asked to indicate, as quickly as possible, whether each image they see is new or repeated. Prosopagnosics who take these tests fail to recognize repetition among the faces in the series, even as they readily identify repeated pictures of other objects.

Reports of prosopagnosia date back to antiquity, although it wasn't until 1947 that researchers made the first modern, extensive description of symptoms. The neurological basis of the disorder remains poorly understood, although research has c onfirmed that the brain processes faces differently than other kinds of objects.

The condition can be embarrassing and lead to social isolation: Severe prosopagnosics may mistake complete strangers for acquaintances even as they fail to recognize family members, close friends, spouses, and even themselves. Many report difficulty watching television shows and movies, since they cannot keep track of characters. Face-blind individuals often compensate for their prosopagnosia using non-facial traits, such as hair, gait, clothing, voice, and context.

There are two broad categories of prosopagnosia. Most documented cases have been of acquired prosopagnosia, due to brain damage suffered after maturity from head trauma, stroke, and degenerative diseases. The other type is called developmental prosopagnosia. These individuals can have similar symptoms but with no evidence of brain damage. It is this group that may be the most common.

"Individuals who've been face-blind since childhood often do not realize that they are unable to recognize faces as well as others; they have never recognized faces normally so their impairment is not apparent to them," says Russell, a postdoctoral researcher in Harvard's Department of Psychology. "As a result, many individuals do not recognize their prosopagnosia until adolescence or adulthood."


'"/>

Source:Harvard University


Related biology news :

1. Emory Study Tests Bone Marrow Stem Cells to Improve Circulation in Legs
2. Tests may help answer questions about GMOs and allergies
3. Elusive HIV shape change revealed; Key clue to how virus infects cells
4. Timing is everything: First step in protein building revealed
5. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
6. A bacterial genome reveals new targets to combat infectious disease
7. Scientists reveal molecular secrets of the malaria parasite
8. Studies reveal methods viruses use to sidestep immune system
9. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
10. Examination of internal wiring of yeast, worm, and fly reveals conserved circuits
11. Family trees of ancient bacteria reveal evolutionary moves
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences ... detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting ... cells (CTCs). The new test has already been ... in multiple cancer types. Over 230 ... damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
Breaking Biology Technology: