Top Ten Things About Having Faceblindness (Prosopagnosia)

(Not in order of importance)

  1. You save a fortune not buying celebrity magazines because you’ve no idea who’s in all those pictures.
  2. You can go shopping without getting waylaid by chit-chatting with random neighbors/ coworkers/ fellow students/ workers from businesses you patronize. (Especially if you’re also autistic and avoid chit-chat anyway.)
  3. Never having to worry about losing ten pounds for lack of attending school reunions.
  4. You’re a safer driver because you aren’t repeatedly checking and touching up your makeup ( gals, and a few guys, too).
  5. Less clutter around the house without a gazillion photographs of relatives and relations.
  6. You develop an appreciation for science fiction because it’s easier to tell apart the different alien races (the Vulcan from the Ferengi from the Cardassian) than it is all the look-alike “beautiful people” in the soap operas.
  7. No obligation to bother studying the Most Wanted criminal notices tacked up at the post office.
  8. You are more likely to befriend the handicapped or otherwise morphologically unusual people.
  9. Security guards appreciate the fact that you’re a big believer in everyone wearing identity badges.
  10. You could identify familiar people at a masked ball just from their gait, mannerisms or voice.

This is humor; for information about faceblindness, see this following page, plus Web sites listed on the blogroll at left
I’m Strange, You’re A Stranger

22 Comments

  1. 27 December 2014 at 12:02

    11. You think everyone else is amazingly talented when they can recognize “that incredibly famous actor from that incredibly famous movie” in a different movie… or, you know, if they can just follow the plots of movies with multiple characters with the same hair color.

  2. andrea said,

    7 November 2011 at 22:43

    I have to check IDs too … I just make sure that the person and the photo have similar hair and skin color, and some kind of morphological / age similarity. (Everyone complains that their driver’s license picture doesn’t look like them, anyway!) I can’t remember faces, but the guy with a ruddy, piggy face and a buzz-cut is different enough from a young gal with long dark hair.

  3. Owl said,

    7 November 2011 at 18:06

    Hah! These are great. I’ve always worked retail jobs throughout school, and I always have to check IDs when I run credit cards… This is probably bad, but I’ve never even bothered looking at faces, I just make sure the names match. The idea that someone can just look at a picture and be able to know for sure that’s the person standing in front of them is strange and amazing to me.

  4. aladdin said,

    24 May 2011 at 12:48

    I am happy to read all about this faceblindness, I saw it in your program on t.v.
    I think I have a similar problem. I can tell I have a stage one faceblindness, but I also don’t know people’s names. If a new worker comes to the office, I will be the last man to cram the name. Many times I meet people and they call me and I politely greet them, afterwords I tell my wife I don;t know this person.
    I love the swedish proverb, EVERYONE KNOWS THE MONKEY AND THE MONKEY KNOWS NO ONE.
    Can some one help me to let me know what I have?
    Thank you.

  5. Anonymous said,

    9 September 2010 at 3:43

    That’s what having a controllable accent is for! You fire it up and all others can recognise you.

  6. martha durham said,

    8 February 2010 at 8:55

    A story.

    My daughter and I were in the parking lot of a local supermarket.

    A man across the way waved and said hello to her. She replied back.

    I asked who he was, assuming he was a teacher, swim coach etc… somewhat uneasy about her ease with this older man I did not know.

    She replied, its Dad.

    My ex-husband of five years but husband/partner of 20 years.

    I did not know who he was.

    • andrea said,

      10 February 2010 at 4:26

      I just lost my own daughter at the supermarket the other day … finally I hollered out her name, and she waved at me. *pop!* there she was, right in front of me!

  7. Anne Healy said,

    22 April 2009 at 1:52

    I have it, but I can at least recognize my own children, so I would have pictures of my children hanging up, except that I also have ADHD, and in the 2 and 1/2 years that I lived here, I still haven’t hung any pictures.

  8. Anonymous said,

    2 April 2009 at 4:27

    I am face blind myself. I’m a man with long grey hair and I have just the thing to ensure to identify nyself: An Australian accent I can switch on and off. This is good due to how most people don’t have a controllable accent. This can be fun if you can do this while most others can’t.

    Fun accents to use are Aussie, Alabama, and British. Another is generic Nordic like the flick “Fargo”. My exact version of “Fargo” is Dansk. My “workhorse” accent to use is Aussie.

  9. Anonymous said,

    11 May 2008 at 22:27

    I am face-blind too. One thing I like is when people have an accent. I have one also, except that my favourite accent is not my originally installed one. I’m a Chicagoan who is able to do a Melbourne (Aussie) accent. Thus I ensure I’m real easy to identify. Unlike clothing or even hair, one’s accent is pretty stable as most people are not able to run an accent other than their OEM accent. The OEM accent one has comes out best if they drink up, with myself as the exception. That’s when I “become” the Aussie! And I have long hair. A lot of people say I look like Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead fame and I have the optional accent!

  10. 29 July 2007 at 10:32

    […] from personal and social theory perspectives and points in between. Andrea prepared a list of top 10 things about having faceblindness (not in order of […]

  11. BarryW said,

    29 June 2007 at 6:40

    Thanks Andrea,

    I’m a severe Prosopagnosic, and I appreciate the laugh.
    I Linked to this entry from my own blog too:
    A Life without Faces

  12. Connie said,

    18 June 2007 at 23:00

    Well, you and Steve have have much in common! I love this post and if you don’t mind, I’d like to use it for the next Disability Carnival. Let me know if you have another post you’d like to share!

    Thanks!

  13. E.J. said,

    25 March 2007 at 18:52

    Beth! That is the same with my partner and I. I never knew I had a problem, my condition is so mild, but I’ve offended people so often at conferences by not recognizing them. My partner also had trouble with names, so she does the recognizing for me and I provide the name. I remember watching those America’s Most Wanted shows and wondering how people were expected to recognize anyone, until I found out that normal people don’t have a problem with that.

  14. Beth said,

    7 September 2006 at 9:05

    Wow. I just heard of this last night on Medical Mystery. I have always been completely frustrated because I can see someone that I haven’t seen in awhile and not recognize them. People get very offended by this. When I was married, my husband couldn’t remember names. We had a good system going. When we would run into somebody we knew, he would immediately throw into the conversation a phrase that he knew would tell me who the people were, and I would throw in their name somewhere. Now that I’m divorced, I’m in the dark a lot. lol If I see someone every day I recognize them until some time has past that I have not seen them. I also find that if I have a picture of the person it helps – unless they change their hair or lose weight or something. I’ve always thought I just wasn’t observant enough, but this is very embarrassing at times. I’m so thankful for that t.v. show because I didn’t know this could be related to anything other than me being an airhead or something. lol

  15. Catana said,

    31 August 2006 at 11:06

    Wow, learn something new every day. I didn’t know this condition could have degrees of severity. I’m not really sure whether that’s my problem or it’s just the result of not paying enough attention. Though there are definitely generic types that look pretty much alike to me. My oldest son can’t believe it when we watch a movie and I can’t recognize an actor we’ve seen before. Maybe that’s why I’ve always preferred faces with sharply defined features and find unusual faces much more attractive than “normal” ones.

  16. Julia said,

    15 August 2006 at 20:54

    I have it very mildly. I didn’t realize until recently how much I rely on movement to identify a person.

    Someone told me this weekend she had been recently diagnosed with “moderate” prosopagnosia. I was careful to identify myself to her when I talked to her after that.

  17. 13 August 2006 at 5:21

    Reminds me of the time I was woken up once to find two policemen at my door.

    I asked them who they were

    “Were the police can’t you see that”

    “No I haven’t put my glasses on yet”

  18. Ms Clark said,

    12 August 2006 at 15:21

    This is great. I don’t have prosopagnosia, but this really helps me to understand it. I don’t like pictures of people as decor, very much. I like pictures of dogs, mostly.

  19. Joel Smith said,

    12 August 2006 at 14:15

    Can you believe that I was once assigned the tasks of checking ID cards against people’s faces in a secure building? Fortunately my boss was pretty understanding on that one and agreed that I probably am not the right person to do that…

  20. 12 August 2006 at 12:17

    LOL, I often bring my daughter with me when I go shopping, as a neighbor early-warning system. She buys magazines. I don’t have a clue who’s in them, either.

    Not recognizing any celebrities probably has a useful protective effect of not being influenced by advertisements, too.


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