"Very excited to know research into this issue continues! I have had trouble recognizing faces and trouble putting names to faces all my life, but only recently learned that this is something other people struggle with! This issue greatly affects my professional and personal life, and I look forward to seeing the outcome of your continued research. Thank you!"
"I have always struggled to recognise faces. I do not struggle with expressions, just the actual look of faces. I have been known to recognise a neighbour by their dog rather than the neighbours face."
"I definitely have mild prosopagnosia which I only really understood a couple of years ago. Once I have a persons's name I remember masses of facts about them. It can be very embarrassing admitting that I don't know who someone is who clearly knows me."
"I first heard about prosopagnosia some years back on an online autism support group (I have Asperger Syndrome) where I heard it was quite common among autistic people - suddenly the difficulties I had all my life made sense!"
"I sometimes close my eyes to be able to recognize people - I'm really good recognizing people by their voices and also by the way they move and walk. Sometimes it is as if I am moving through deep water seeing vague forms that suddenly crystallize into known people - this is especially true where there are crowds of people. I definitely prefer small groups and hate to be surprised by large groups. I also prefer to arrive first to a gathering so that I can watch people come in."
"I am an academic. I can remember the identification of many different species but regularly offend students whom I teach as I dont knkw who they are, and struggle with colleagues whom i know I know (most of the time) but I dont remember who they are. Without focussed learning I cannot remember the names of others or details associated about them."
"I sometimes continue a conversation with someone, only to find out it's not the same person I had previously spoken to (even within a few minutes of talking to them). Sometimes I'm talking to someone I've never spoken to before but because they have a similar build and hair, I don't realise. It even happens with people who I know well enough to have had over for tea at my house. It's humiliating. I can't tell my children's friends apart and when their parents arrive to pick them up, I have no idea if I've met the parent before."
"I have never been able to recall personal names, but have been able to memorise vocabulary of other natural languages."
"I used to teach but couldn't remember faces. I had to write seating plans constantly. In the streets people greet me and I can't remember where I have met them although they know me. I have to find verbal hints and then it comes to me."
"I was unaware of facial recognition problems until my late 30s. I now work in a profession where my poor memory for faces is a real drawback."
"I have found all my life this is a problem. When in the police I could never remember peoples faces from wanted posters, yet colleagues could - this is when I became aware of the problem."
"I have always thought I was bad with faces but when my partner of 5 years whom I live with got his haircut and I woke up next to him, for the following mornings I was shocked and it took me a few minutes to realise it was him. I see him everyday."
"I used to work in a bookshop and would frequently go to the wrong person if they made an enquiry then left the counter to browse. Also, I am a member of several committees and find it hard when people remember me but I can't recall their name when I see their face. Seeing people out of context is particularly difficult. Some people started introducing themselves to me again, recognising I would have forgotten who they were, which is awkward."
"I have struggled with this my whole life, my dad had it too. We once stood next to each other for 15 mins at a bus stop before I recognised his scarf. It makes films a challenge."
"I have struggled with facial recognition throughout my life and have only recently learnt that it may be due to a medical condition. This is very comforting."
"I have had problems recognising people, and putting names to faces for a long time. I've often questioned whether it just be laziness on my behalf to remember, or something more deep seated. I find it really embarrassing in social situations, when apparently I've already met the person multiple times."
"I'm really happy to see awareness being promoted for this as I have struggled for years with the inability to recognise people's faces and it is not only embarrassing but people who do not understand can take it as a personal insult resulting in being called names from bitch to even a racist."
"Since I was young I've had lots of embarrassing situations where I've not recognised people I've seen several times before or very recently. I just can't seem to fix their face in my mind unless they have unusual or distinctive characteristics. I think this is probably a mild case rather than a serious one but it can be really embarrassing in a professional or social context."
"My impression is that I was better at recognising faces when I was much younger (at school or university), but maybe I didn't realise I had a problem! Knowing about something you do badly is the thing that is very socially inhibiting. People often think that you simply aren't trying. Having a husband who understands is very helpful - he actively reminds me of who people are. Celebrity culture is a complete blank for me - I honestly have no idea."
"I sometimes look at photos of people with similar beards etc and think they are me."
"I am a lecturer and have always had terrible problems remembering students' and colleagues' faces, which means I frequently can't call them by name. My inability to put names to the faces in front of me, even with an attendance list constantly to hand, is so bad that it causes me a lot of stress in the classroom, as in addition to the demands of teaching I am constantly struggling to distinguish one individual from another. This has become a joke among the students. I have noticed that my colleagues are much, much better at being able to put names to the faces of students, whereas I will remember names but not be able to recall what they look like. There are always quite a few whose names I struggle with right up to graduation, which I know makes them feel that I am just not interested in them. I also have problems recognising people that I have previously met socially, so much so that I dread dinners and events that bring me into contact with people that others assume I know and remember. Obviously this leads to lots of embarrassing situations. As a teacher I have tried many tricks to try and connect names to faces, but have never had much success. I only remember and recognise people who have really attracted my attention in some way."
"I've suspected for several years I have prosopagnosia. Every since preschool I remember being frustrated by being unable to remember the names and faces of my schoolmates and relatives."
"I more easily recognise people by their movements or their voice than by their faces. Other things I watch out for are the height, the hair colour or the dress style."
"If ever I was asked to describe a face to a sketch artists for eg I'd struggle to do so. Even if it's a face I know and recognise I don't think I could describe it in enough detail to make an accurate sketch."
"I didn't recognize my own sister when she showed up at my door after she had her hair cut."
"Once when I was 20, I asked my younger brother if he had seen my younger brother. I also have photographs that I clearly remember being taken but in which I have no idea which one is me. When I let my hair grow out and be a bit wild, it is far easier to recognize myself in a mirror when shaving."
"I realised I had this when I failed to pick out my daughter playing in a hockey match."
"I work in a large university department and just assume I've met people before as a safe option. I have to have spent hours working with someone before I genuinely recognise them in the corridor."
"I have always struggled with recognising faces when I have to think fast. Walking towards someone, unsure I've met the person before. Should I greet this person or is it a stranger? It's often frustrating, and have lead me to walk around keeping my eyes on the ground not having to face others around me. Rather being perceived as ignorant than as "nose in the air" for not greeting someone I should have."
"Having trouble being able to recognize people affects me every day and causes fairly bad anxiety because it can affects people's perceptions of me. I don't like tv shows with too many characters. I have walked up to someone in my job I have known for 3 years and thought they were someone else."
"I can't remember people's names or put the right names to faces. I am extremely shy and hate social interaction in large groups. I had always considered this to be why I cannot remember names and put them to faces because I assume I am lacking in eye contact."
"I find it difficult to remember face details: Colour of hair or eyes, if with a beard or not. Even friends and close relatives. I might remember after checking a photograph and then remembering. For example, I can picture my brother's face and when I see him, but don't know details of the face."
"I've recently found out I have many aspergers traits (undiagnosed) after attending an autism awareness course. I've always been terrible with faces and I frequently introduce myself to people I've met two or three times."
"When I was a teenager, my mother used to joke that neither of us would recognize the other if we met in the street!"
"I mainly struggle to recognise people whom I know when I see or meet them unexpectedly out of context; e.g. a work colleague in town. In addition, I fail to associate names to faces until I see their name written. Sometimes saying their name a few times cements their name into my mind's eye. I have a strong mind's eye."
"I have to draw people near every week for my job, but I can't imagine faces or draw them from memory. I sometimes feel like my boyfriend of five years is a stranger if he changes shampoos or wears a hat. I am very curious to know what's going on kn my brain. I've never had any serious blows to the head."
"I realised in my 50s that my inability to recognise faces has a name. I was quite relieved. My prosopagnosia is not disabling, but has led to many extremely embarrassing social situations and creates self doubt. It also can make watching films difficult."
"Wish there was a badge and wider recognition so I didn't keep having to explain and feel awkward. :)"
"I have always thought of myself as bad with names, but the biggest thing I notice is that I can remember stories, conversations, and even adventures or vacations in excellent detail, but can't remember who it was with. Usually takes a lot of deduction from context. I also can't remember what color things are unless I make a deliberate effort. "
"I recognize family and those I know well but even friends go totally unrecognized if seen our of context. Names are very hard, faces much much worse. Otherwise no cognitive issues I'm aware of. I'm interested in how it rates and will answer without skewing to either end of the range. Thank you for sharing this test."
"It was a relief to me to learn there was a
name for what I've experienced all my life. I didn't realize that my
perception was different from others until I was in my mid-30s."
"My maternal grandmother had prosopagnosia, my mother does and so do I. I haven't figured out if either of my children are affected. I can pick up subtle differences in dogs and cats though, but not horses. I'm a veterinarian so the dog thing is useful. It used to drive me crazy that I could only recognize owners when they had their dogs with them!"
"I realised I had trouble recognising faces when I was at school. I struggled to make and keep friends as I was unable to recognise and keep track of classmates identities. Now I have similar difficulties at work, but have learnt to recognise people by their clothing and voices. My 'face-blindness' doesn't seem as severe as others' experiences, as I am able to recognise my immediate family - but if I see them outside of where I expect to see them - I am likely to mistake them for strangers at first. In fact, my family members also have similar issues, but to a lesser degree than my difficulties. Finally, it seems like my emotion recognition is not impaired as I am easily able to recognise how people are feeling, even if I struggle to recognise who they are."
"When someone I know wears glasses, I cannot rememeber what their face looks like. It could even be someone I'm very close to such as a friend or even my mother and father. If I have seen a picture of them I can remember that specific picture. But still, if they wear glasses, I find it incredibly difficult to remember what their face looks like."
"I am a self-confessed forgettor of faces and struggle to watch complex films due to the problem of forgetting which character is which!"
"My dad has it [developmental prosopagnosia] too (always asking my mum who that was he'd been talking to). So relieved to know it's not lack of attention/ interest. I am lucky in that I only have a mild form, & husband is prepared to keep me straight e.g. patiently helping me keep all the characters straight when we watch tv shows."
"I am a secondary school teacher and always struggle to learn the names of students in my classes. I can't always say for sure if a particular student is in one of my classes or not by looking at them."
"I don't struggle with people who I know well but find Friends of friends who I've met a few times or people I've met in large groups very hard. When I meet them out of context, I sometimes recognise them a bit but have no idea how and sometimes I don't recognise then at all until they've started talking to me!"
"I am horribly bad with faces, and have walked past my own daughter and father in the street without recognising them. I did at least think that the old gent looked a bit like my dad! At school I was thought to be stand-offish, but really it was because I didn't recognise people. I didn't realise that not recognising people was unusual, I thought that other people covered it up better than me. I make up for it by being very good with voices and accents and being observant of shoes and handbags and hats, things which are often the same, day to day. It's a standing joke that in any movie, I will assume there to be one less male character than is the case and get very confused as to the plot. If I do recognise someone, they should not feel flattered, it means that they have some very outstanding feature such as too much makeup or a huge nose. I'm better at recognising the neighbours by their dog, if they don't have the dog with them I don't know them."
"My issues are not developmental but appeared following recreational drug use in my late 20's/early 30s (primarily MDMA) - I had normal facial recognition in my early life but now have considerable difficulty. The difficulties have remained static for the past 10 years."
"My main problem is a total inability to bring an image of anyone's face to mind; even faces I see on a day-to-day basis. But... if I see someone I know/knew in a photograph, I can always bring that photograph and the face to mind."
"I've always been bad remembering names as well as faces and just usually put it down to bad memory. Unless I see someone regularly I won't remember there face or name."
I've had "trouble with faces" since I was a child, often forgetting what teachers and classmates looked like over holiday periods. I didn't really realise it was a problem until I was in my early twenties, when I'd forget I'd met people before, or I'd go on dates with people I'd met once and have to rely on them recognising me when we met up. Although this is obviously stressful and I often worry about coming across as rude, it wouldn't lead me to avoid a social situation. Occasionally I've thrown caution to the wind and attempted to overcompensate for my lack of recognition, going up to people I think I might recognise, only for it to turn out not to be them, including someone I work with. I find that social networking, especially Facebook, has helped with this problem - seeing people's faces day-in, day-out, even when not physically around them is advantageous - but I do still struggle with faces otherwise."
"My boyfriend always jokes that I have "reverse facial blindness" in the sense that when I mistake people I have met for strangers, its the stranger I am convinced is the person I have met before, even when he says they look hardly alike at all. I don't talk to these people, but voice/hair/walk is how I distinguish people mostly."
"Problem tends to be with women more then men. Fine with immediate family but nephews/neices their partners etc that I see mostly by photos are difficult. Can't remember school child problems. In-joke at work need to ask colleagues who people are. Those I have frequent contact with less of a problem. Really depressing that can not get image of wife or parents."
"I have always had a lot of problems recognising faces, especially when out of context. I have found it quite distressing in the past."
"I have always had problems with names more than faces, but I do a bit of public speaking so I have always excused myself, with a few embarrassing exceptions, on the grounds that lots of people know who I am, but I don't know them. It would be very interesting to find out how much the face recognition comes into the name problem."
"I know I have prosopagnosia and there is a history of it over 3 generations in my family - I can see and read a face but cannot retain an image, my father and son cannot see more than one feature at a time, they can focus on one feature such as the mouth or nose and the rest is blank. We also have a family history of autism and autistic traits through 4 generations. My son has full diagnosis and I have informal diagnosis from a specialist through my work. As a child and young adult I played the clown to cover my difficulties and struggled to understand why I always seemed out of the loop when I tried to behave like everyone else, as an adult I became, not shy (I'm hypersocial) but much more cautious and actively developed other strategies for recognition - understanding prosopagnosia, particularly in the context of autism, helped me considerably. One of my main strategies when I meet someone I can't identify but who clearly knows me is to join the conversation in a general way until they give me enough information to figure out who they are. All my good friends and colleagues know I have difficulty, especially out of context, and I am now very open about making sure they know I won't know them next time I meet them, especially when meeting a new person at work. I explain the basics and make light of it and we laugh and that makes a difference to how they feel when they meet me again and I don't know who they are which in turn makes our meeting more comfortable for me (especially if they learn to identify themselves at the beginning of the communication)- I don't let them see the anxiety it causes me inside and the real struggles I have, I only explain those if someone is interested or gets to know me better."
"I live in a world full of strangers and have failed to recognize my own wife and mother."
"I don't always seem to identify age well and I struggle with names to faces."
"Although I recognise some people when I meet them, I'm never quite sure how I recognise them. Furthermore when I'm looking at someone straight in the face and close my eyes, I cannot picture a single feature of their face (my wife has always found this a little disconcerting). I always try and make a mental note of people's descriptive features (in words) in my mind - this helps me recognise people, however it does have a small side effect that I'm trying to remember so many descriptive words that I often forget their name! My close friends and family have always thought I simply didn't have a good memory until we read an article a couple of years ago that described prosopagnosia."
"I first noticed I had trouble recognising faces when I was 15. I had a part-time job in a shoe shop and when I left a customer to get shoes from the back stockroom I found that I often struggled to recognise that customer when I came back to the shopfloor - especially if the shop was busy. I learned to remember their coat or bag colour etc as a way to identify them. It doesn't happen all the time but it has happened a few times with extended family members too if I bump into them in a place I wouldn't normally expect to see them and if they had changed their hair style or had clothes I hadn't seen before."
"I recognise visitors at work by their clothes and reintroduce myself if they take their coat off. I struggle with names and faces but always remember conversations"
"I've always had trouble recognising faces, at least since I was a teenager anyway. I'm quite shy/awkward in social situations and I suspect fear of not recognising people, or worse, confusing them with someone else, contributes to that. If meeting a friend I don't see very often, I rely on them to pick me out in a crowd rather than the other way round."
"I am somewhat releaved it's an actual condition, I'm just so sick and tired of people blaming me for being rude when I don't recognize them."
"I've had difficulties with recognizing people all my life, I believe contributing to my social awkwardness and introverted nature. Knowing who was in a movie, or recognizing coworkers in social settings (or classmates at retail stores, or friends at public gatherings where I didn't know they would be)."
"In my first day of highschool, my friend introduced me to 3 persons she met at the cafeteria, we talked a lot, even hugged. The next day my friend didn't come to school and I literally had to ask them " umm, excuse me are you the ones I hugged yesterday?"
"I have always had difficulty recognising faces of people I don't see on a regular basis, which makes me seem snobby but I just have no idea who the person is. I forget most faces as soon as I'm not looking directly at the person."
"I've always been bad with both names and faces, but have attributed it to my innate introversion and lack of attention to detail."
"I had no idea other people suffered from this! It's terrible not being able to recognize and chat with people because I have no idea where I know them from. Could not recognize my brother. A neighbor for years saw me at a store- it was obvious to him I had no clue as to who he was. Enlightening to know this is an actual condition and Im not alone!"
"I am a junior doctor. I think I have prospagnosia affecting my ability to work as a doctor"
"I live in a community of about 50 people and work in a small town where I have probably met nearly everyone. Because of this, I usually just treat everyone as if I know them. Most people probably don't realize that I don't have the foggiest idea who they are. Even in my small community, I once confused one teenager with her grandmother! I don't understand that at all."
"I realised in my 50s that my inability to recognise faces has a name. I was quite relieved. My prosopagnosia is not disabling, but has led to many extremely embarrassing social situations and creates self doubt. It also can make watching films difficult."
"What is the interface between having a difficult time remembering names and recognizing faces? I have a hard time recognizing some people until I have been with them a lot and used their names a lot. Even then, I can forget their names. Occasionally, I have sat with people in counseling situations that have lasted a couple hours and then a few days later not remembered who they were when I met them. I have trouble differentiating between and remembering the names of older, bald men. It takes me a long time to get them straight, especially, when they wear baseball hats."
"The only problem I've noticed is while watching a new show or movie, I mistake people with similar build and hair styles for each other in the beginning. If they have a lot of screen time then usually after a while I can tell the difference between the characters."
"Just got back from a restaurant talking with a guy who asked about my vacation last week. I wondered how he knew I was on vacation ? Well I just spent the last five days with him and his family and two other families. I did not recognize him until 5 minutes into the conversation."
"I've been having embarrassing moments where someone speaks to me, and they know that I have not recognised them, and they may be an old old friend, someone I really should know, and once, I didn't know my own son just because he had started growing a beard, so many people have talked to me, people that are really close to me, and I will chat, and think afterwards who they were, yesterday, my neighbour across the road came over while I was in the garden, I couldn't believe that I hadn't known her until she started to chat, and it was then that I had put two and two together. Only the other day, I was sitting next to someone who was in school with me, and they were totally shocked when I didn't know them, this is so so embarrassing."
Fine (2012). A life with prosopagnosia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 29, 354-359.
The author gives an anecdotal account of his life with developmental prosopagnosia (DP). He was not formally diagnosed until the age of 53 and has evolved a complicated strategy for recognizing people based on non-facial physical features and context. He describes his experiences through infancy, school, university life and courtship, work and family life. He believes that he has lived a full and successful life despite DP but that some aspects of his social and work life were impaired by face-blindness. In his experience people react positively and helpfully if the consequences of DP are explained to them, and this improves social interactions and communications.
Chowhan (2013). Living with face blindness. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/09/living-with-face-blindness/279898/
Everett (2014). Prosopagnosia. http://www.drunkmonkeys.onimpression.com/prosopagnosia
Della Sala & Schweinberger (2013). Face blindness and person misidentification in non-scientific parlance. Cortex, 49, 2276-2280.