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STRANGERS IN THE MIRROR

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Posted by abeodbart June 30, 2010 at 8:21 am

“Oliver Sacks, the famous neuroscientist and author, can’t recognize faces. Neither can Chuck Close, the great artist known for his enormous paintings of … that’s right, faces.

Oliver and Chuck–both born with the condition known as Face Blindness–have spent their lives decoding who is saying hello to them. You can sit down with either man, talk to him for an hour, and if he sees you again just fifteen minutes later, he will have no idea who you are. (Unless you have a very squeaky voice or happen to be wearing the same odd purple hat.)

In this podcast, we listen in on a conversation Robert had with Chuck and Oliver at Hunter College in New York City as part of the World Science Festival. Chuck and Oliver tell Robert what it’s like to live with Face Blindness and describe two very different ways of coping with this condition, which may be more common than we think.”

Read more at WNYC

COMMENTS
June 30, 2010 at 9:45 am
Margarita says:

That explains why Chuck Close is such a brilliant artist – the more objective you are about a face, the better you can paint it, which is why painting self-portraits are usually more difficult.


June 30, 2010 at 11:56 am
Rob says:

It is known as prosopagnosia.
I use it as an excuse when I either a) say hello effusively to strangers or b) fail to recognise close friends.
There is a test online for it.
I was rubbish, suggesting that I do have a mild form. It was strangely frustrating, like trying to do equations while standing on your head, or trying to move your little toe without moving the other toes.
Here is a link to the test:
http://www.faceblind.org/facetests/index.php
Have fun, peeps.


June 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Penn Gillette suffers from the same issue, I wonder how many people out there have it


June 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm
shellsbells says:

I have that !! Wow I always thought it was just me not being observant, but i had a friend at college who gave me a lift to lectures and I only “recognised” her for the first four weeks of the course because she pulled up in the car and leaned out. If she had sat and waited for me to come to her it would have been a long wait!! It takes me a lot of meetings before I recognise people.


June 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm
roz says:

holy crapolie! i never knew that oliver sachs has the same disorder i do!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_blindness

i also contacted the guy at harvard who’s doing a study on this. amazing. i always thought i was brain damaged or something…


June 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm
Bletherskite says:

I don’t think I have a problem with faces as such but i’m absolutely dreadful if I meet someone out of their usual context.


June 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm
NevadaGirl says:

Really interesting podcast there. I’ve always had a little trouble with faces. I work in a coffee shop. We have regulars that come in. I always remember their car, and I especially remember the coffee they like to get. But I really do have trouble remembering their faces. Once they say their name, I can whip up their mocha latte just the way I know they want it.
I’m sure I would be an awful person to have as an eye witness to a crime. I could see myself outside the line up. “I don’t recognize any of these faces. But…I know that whoever robbed the place likes his cappuccino dry and with sugar free caramel.”
Enough of that. There is another facial recognition test on this site. https://www.testmybrain.org


July 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm
rob says:

That’s amazing……….100% of people who read this have exactly the same thing. This really is more common than we think lol


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