Scientists Explain Mystery of 'Face Blindness'

Marlene Behrmann, a co-author of the study and a professor in the department of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, said prosopagnosia patients are commonly mislabeled as having autism or asperger's syndrome, due to the awkward nature of many of their social interactions with people whose faces they cannot recognize. But Behrmann said the condition is completely unique from autism disorders, and often patients with "face blindness" go out of their way to develop new methods of overcoming their disorder to have comfortable social interactions.

"One woman I know [with prosopagnosia] is a scientist and goes to conferences and is always known as the friendliest person at the entire conference," Behrmann said. "She greets everyone with such joviality because she doesn't want to offend anybody that she knows but doesn't recognize.

"So, these patients have strategies to overcome their condition, but hardly ever withdraw from social interaction; they try really hard to find ways around this disorder and to keep in the social mainstream."

Lindenberger's biggest hope is that this latest research will provide more publicity for this condition and help others to become more sensitive to those with "face blindness."

"I want the public to know as much as possible, so people will be tolerant of those who have the condition," he said.

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