Prosopagnosia Essay

Topics: Face perception, Prosopagnosia, Fusiform gyrus Pages: 7 (2463 words) Published: April 10, 2011
Prosopagnosia is defined as the difficulty in recognizing an individuals face; it is broken down into 3 main types; Apperceptive prosopagnosia, associative prosopagnosia and developmental prosopagnosia. Perception is an important aspect when recognizing faces, without recognizing the stimulus (face) you would not be able to identify a person. Therefore the individuals who sufferer from this disorder is unable to accurately recognize a face whether that be the face of a familiar person such as a family member or close friend, the face of a famous person, or even their own face. This paper will look at prosopagnosia in greater detail, it will explain the 3 main types, as well as give insight as to why face recognition is important in our everyday lives. It will look at the sensory basis for prosopagnosia, what regions in the brain are associated with it and how damages can occur. Furthermore it will look at the similarities between Autism Spectrum Disorder and prosopagnosia. Next it will look at the symptoms that occur due to prosopagnosia and the adversity individuals with this disorder have to suffer with. Lastly it will look at how it affects a person’s everyday life. It explains what things can be done to deal with their situation and to overcome the adversity they have faced such as relying on external features to help recognize an individual without having to focus on only their face. Prosopagnosia is not a well-known disorder however as studies go on it is becoming increasingly common, thus it is beneficial to explore this topic further.

Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder, which is also, known as face blindness. It is defined as the inability to recognize faces (Peelen, Lucas, Mayer, & Vuilleumier, 2009, p. 268). There are three different types of prosopagnosia, which consists of Apperceptive prosopagnosia, Associative prosopagnosia and lastly developmental prosopagnosia. According to Gabriel, Klein & McCall (2008), Apperceptive prosopagnosia is defined as perceptual discrepancies while looking at and processing faces, they are unable to distinguish key features of individuals who are familiar to them. Associative prosopagnosia is where the person is unable to remember or retrieve the information associated with facial recognition (p. 977). Duchaine, Murry, Turner, White, & Garrido (2009) defined developmental prosopagnosia which is also known as congenital prosopagnosia this is the inability to recognize faces since early childhood which is not due to brain damage (p. 620). Another type of prosopagnosia is mentioned in the article by Grüter, Grüter, & Carbon (2008), which is know as hereditary prosopagnosia, it is similar to developmental prosopagnosia besides the fact that it is hereditary and can be passed down though genetics (p. 86). A person who is suffering from prosopagnosia is unable to perceive the stimulus of a face correctly because the brain is incapable of recognizing the stimulus due to damage of the fusiform gyrus located in the temporal lobe. Thus this explains the importance of face recognition and why it is important in everyday life.

Faces are an important part of an individual’s social life. Faces tell many things about an individual, such as their mood, health, age, and gender. They help us understand how a person is feeling and in some cases their facial expressions can also express what a person may be thinking. According to Grüter, Grüter, & Carbon (2008), there are many stages to processing faces, which include a detection stage where the stimulus is detected, next the facial information will be analyzed and finally the information will be encoded and stored as the images of the faces (p.81). They also stated that human tend to recognize faces by identifying key features and use that to make a whole picture (p. 85). As said by Garrido, Duhaine, & Nakayama (2008) a strong inversion effect was shown by face detection, individuals who suffered from this...
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