Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness)

Well, that was interesting:

Steve sent me a fascinating article about prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. I've always wondered if, along with my aphantasia, there is something wrong with my ability to recognize people. I joke that I would be the worst-ever person to witness a crime, because I honestly wouldn't have any information to provide to a sketch artist. I used to spend a ridiculous amount of time studying my students' photos during the first few days of school in hopes of recognizing them if they wore a different color shirt to school, or talked to me from somewhere other than the desk I'd assigned them. For whatever reason, my brain wants to associate people with the color of their clothing or the location where I met them instead of anything actually useful, like facial features. I am notorious for not being able to tell movie characters apart, which I think may go a long way in explaining why I don't really enjoy movies. I spend the whole time confused because I don't know who is who. I am also notorious for not recognizing people I know if they're in an unusual setting or wearing sunglasses or something. One of my most embarrassing moments of all time was during a trip with Steve celebrating our first anniversary. We were about two hours away from home, visiting a state park, when someone who obviously knew me said hello and started chatting. He was tall and wearing sunglasses. I had no idea who he was. Instead of following normal social conventions and guiding the conversation so I could figure out who it was, I actually asked. It was my boss. The principal of the school where I taught, a man I'd seen multiple times a day for 9 years. Embarrassing, to say the least. I babbled about never seeing him in sunglasses and wait - you're wearing a hat, too! That's why I didn't recognize you! You never wear hats!

People always joke about how no one ever guessed that Clark Kent was Superman. He probably would have had me fooled.

Anyway, my score of 61% put me a hair above the diagnosis point for prosopagnosia, which sounds about right. I don't have problems finding my friends amongst other people, nor do I unintentionally snub friends regularly (at least, not that I know of...) But I'm definitely below average when it comes to recognizing people.

If you have 20 minutes, take the Cambridge Face Memory Test and let me know in the comments how you do!


  1. Wow, very cool experiment - I scored an 89% so apparently I'm at the other end and very good at recognizing faces. Thanks Cindy!

  2. I am going to have to try this! I think I might be in the middle!!

  3. 92% I found the last set with the pixelated portion very difficult, I don't think I missed one before that. Pretty interesting stuff!

  4. How interesting. I will try the test.


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