This psychological test could access your ability on how you recognize faces.

Can you identify Elvis Presley if you see him? Of course, if you’re an Elvis fan, then you don’t need a crash course. Did you know the average person can recognize thousands of faces at any given time? Yes, you can. So how good are you at identifying that this is Elvis Presley and not an Elvis-lookalike? You see, therefore you can. Spoiler alert: quite not. However, there is a psychological test that measures your memory on your ability to identify faces. Huh?



What Is Facial Blindness?

Prosopagnosia, also known as “face blindness,” is the impairment in the ability to recognize facial identities. Prosopagnosics — people who suffer from this condition — more often than not have difficulty in recognizing their own family members, close friends, and even themselves; who tend to identify things with alternative routes, but not as effective as facial recognition. Studies report that 1 in 50 people are supposedly prosopagnosic, a major cause to most social problems, too. This is often characterized by the inability to even recognize household scenes, like cars, clothes, facial expressions of emotions.

They occasionally have trouble identifying faces they have seen before, even knowing whether they have seen you before is a hurdle. To the extreme, they have trouble identifying even people they spend the most time with, such as their spouse and children. However, prosopagnosia is the inability to recognize faces, and not recalling names. If you always rely on non-facial features such as hair, gait, clothing, voice, or any other attributes to identify someone, then that’s a sign of prosopagnosia. As a result, they can’t keep track of movie characters, and sometimes have difficulty imagining faces of people they know.

The term “prosopagnosia” dates back to German neurologist Joachim Bodamer’s 1947 landmark paper of two individuals with the inability to recognize faces. In that paper he describes their symptoms and diagnosed them with extreme general visual agnosia — inability to identify visual objects. He coined the term from two Greek words, prosopon, which means “face,” and agnosia which was the medical term for “recognition impairment.” Thus, “prosopagnosia” was born.

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Hey, I Guess I Know That Face

Most cases of prosopagnosia are reported to have been caused by some form of brain damage, obviously; this could be head trauma, stroke, or degenerative diseases. These causes are known as acquired prosopagnosia: individuals who had normal facial recognition and later became impaired. Such people often notice their deficits since they once had normal face recognition. If you are experiencing a sudden difficulty in identifying your family and friends, then you better consult a neurologist; any decline in your facial recognition abilities may indicate the potential trigger of having prosopagnosia.

Developmental prosopagnosia, on the other hand, occur in people who have never had normal facial recognition. These individuals assume their condition as normal and often think all faces lookalike. As a result, many of such people are unaware of their inability, and most children even never get to be diagnosed. There has been several studies in the normal population that confirms that differences in facial recognition abilities are primarily due to genetics. And facial processing in the brain involves a wide range of factors. 

For instance, several studies scanned the brain using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) together with several other techniques prove that certain parts of the brain respond more to faces than to other visual categories. Prosopagnosia is a problem with face networking — acquired prosopagnosia is the damage to the network, whereas developmental prosopagnosia is the inability of developing the network. There are many ways your facial networking abilities might malfunction, and given the many areas of connections needed to identify a face, it is more likely there are many types of prosopagnosia, too.



The Face Test

Now, would you like to take the test? If you would like to assess your face recognition abilities, there’s now a test of face recognition available. This test gives you a feedback response on how your score compares with the scores of known people with normal face recognition.

Can you identify the personality depicted here?

If your answer to the question isn’t Elvis Presley, then you might be showing signs of prosopagnosia. Yikes! Don’t worry, maybe you don’t know who Elvis is, millennial. Click here and take the test now.

Kindly let us know how you did on the test.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Oct 02, 2021.

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