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  • Do you have difficulties recognising faces?
  • Do you recognise people by their hairstyle or voice?
  • Do you have ‘bad memory for faces’?
  • Do you find it hard to recognise the facial expressions of others? 

Welcome to troublewithfaces.orgThis is a new initiative on face recognition difficulties across a variety of conditions, led by a group of UK-based researchers trying to better understand how people recognise faces and understand expressions. 

In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms underlying these difficulties in developmental prosopagnosia and alexithymia. While these conditions are unrelated, and rarely co-occur, each is associated with characteristic face perception difficulties. If you think you might have any of these conditions, and would like to find out more, or take part in our research, we would be delighted to hear from you. We are also extremely keen to hear from individuals with diagnosed Autism Spectrum Conditions who wish to get involved in research. 

GET INVOLVED! Are you interested in face perception and would like to give your contribution? We are always looking for participants with or without face recognition difficulties to take part in our experiments. Click here to show your interest!

Alternatively if you want to get in touch fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

What is developmental prosopagnosia?

Around 2% of the general population are born with developmental prosopagnosia (so-called 'face blindness'); a condition characterised by difficulties recognising faces. People with developmental prosopagnosia often use non-face cues to recognise others, such as their hairstyle, clothes, voice, or distinctive features. Sometimes individuals are unaware they have the condition, instead believing they have 'bad memory for faces'. In fact, prosopagnosia is entirely unrelated to intelligence or broader memory ability. The condition is unrelated to alexithymia and the majority of prosopagnosics recognise facial expressions without any difficulty. If you think you might have prosopagnosia, you can complete the PI20 questionnaire, a validated measure of prosopagnosia severity. 

What is alexithymia?

Alexithymia is a condition characterised by difficulties recognising, distinguishing and describing feelings from the bodily sensations of emotional arousal. Crucially, however, research conducted by ourselves and others suggests that alexithymia is associated with impaired recognition of others' emotional expressions. Despite having problems recognising facial expressions, individuals with alexithymia typically recognise facial identity without any difficulty. Alexithymia can be measured by completing a simple questionnaire. We will email you with more details after it is completed. 

Personality traits associated with prosopagnosia

Certain types of personality are thought to be related to face recognition ability. This questionnaire investigates some of these traits, such as your extroversion and social skills, the ability to pay attention to details, and your communication skills.

Can't get to one of our testing centres?
We often hear from people who are keen to participate in prosopagnosia research, but who are unable to travel to one of our testing centres in London or Reading (both UK). We highly recommend the North East Face-Blindness Screening Centre based at Teeside University (Middlesbrough, UK). While we find it hard to follow-up contacts we receive from outside the UK, we recommend several excellent research groups based abroad.