eli5 How does face blindness work?

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I get that people with it can’t tell the difference between faces, but why? What part of their brain isn’t working properly? How does it translate to face blindness?

In: Biology

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

According to [the Wikipedia article on the subject](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosopagnosia) (which unfortunately isn’t written in an approachable way), there are three types of face blindness, and the cause is typically from neurological damage.

There is no known treatment.

Sometimes face blindness can be acquired (like if you have a stroke, you may have trouble with faces afterward), and in these cases, occasionally, the problem resolves itself over time.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

I once saw a simple explanation. Look at a picture of a giraffe. Now look at another picture of a giraffe. Are they the same? It’s hard to tell, right? You are blind to the giraffe pattern. You can see it, but it doesn’t mean anything to you. You have to put a lot of effort to be able to identify a giraffe and will have a hard time recognizing it if you see it. You will have an easier time picking out some other aspect to identify it rather than the pattern, and they all look the same.

Pretty much the same thing, but with people and their faces.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Fusiform gyrus (a region within the temporal lobe, basically by your temple).

It’s basically the “individual” recognizer of the brain, so with humans it’s faces, but the equivalent region in zebras gets triggered with stripe patterns (like barcodes) so with face blindness, this area doesn’t work as it would typically.