Face Blindness: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2021

Face blindness refers to a disorder within the brain that causes the inability to recognize faces. Medically, face blindness is known as prosopagnosia. The condition is thought to be related to damage to an area in the brain known as the right fusiform gyrus, an area involved in the neural systems that control facial perception and memory.

Signs and symptoms of face blindness include

  • poor recognition of familiar individuals in person or in photographs,
  • an inability to describe faces,
  • confusion regarding plotlines in movies or plays with numerous characters,
  • feelings of disorientation in crowded locations, or
  • difficulty distinguishing individuals wearing uniforms or similar articles of clothing.

Other associated symptoms and signs can include

  • reliance on asking personal questions or by focusing on telltale clothing to establish identities,
  • refusal to greet individuals by name, and
  • avoidance of meeting new people.

Causes of face blindness

Stroke, degenerative brain diseases, or trauma to the brain may all be causes of face blindness.

Other face blindness symptoms and signs

  • Avoidance of Meeting New People
  • Confusion Regarding Plotlines in Movies or Plays with Numerous Characters
  • Difficulty Distinguishing Individuals Wearing Uniforms or Similar Articles of Clothing
  • Feelings of Disorientation in Crowded Locations
  • Inability to Describe Faces
  • Poor Recognition of Familiar Individuals in Person or in Photographs
  • Refusal to Greet Individuals by Name
  • Reliance on Asking Personal Questions or by Focusing on Telltale Clothing to Establish Identities

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.