In their activity, facial recognition and visual object recognition employ similar spheres of the brain and damage to these spheres could cause an inability to recognize certain characteristics either entirely or partially. Agnosia is defined as this type of inability to identify objects or facial features and can be divided into many groups, ranging from Prosopagnosia Agnosia to Apperceptive Visual Agnosia. The former refers to an individual’s inability to recognize faces, while the latter refers to an individual’s inability to perceive objects, thus hindering their identification of the same objects. In prosopagnosia, the individual can actually perceive the object but would not recognize it later if shown the same of similar object and may confuse it with other objects. However, in apperceptive Visual Agnosia, the individual does not perceive the object in the first place and as such he/ she has no viable chance of recognizing it.
To test for the type of difficulty the patient is having, I would employ a variety of objects and faces that he/ she would be exposed to gradually so as to determine whether they can perceive them, recognize them or unable to do either of them. To test for perception, I would employ simple tests where I would show the patient an unfamiliar object and ask them what it is or what its use is. This would work with any object, preferably common objects such as cups. Ability to perceive would be manifested if the patient can point out that it is a cup or tell its use while an inability to perceive would be demonstrated by a patient being unable to see the object for what it is and fail to attach the proper use to it. After the ability to perceive has been established, the patient can then be tested for recognition of the objects and faces. Towards this end, he/ she can be shown familiar faces over and over again at regular time intervals to determine whether they can remember them after having seen them previously (Farah, 2004).
These conditions affecting facial perception and recognition are caused when a patient suffers from damage to the brain and particularly in close proximity to the optical lobe. The exact areas that must be affected are yet to be pinned down, but scientists have noticed that damage to the optical lobe or around it tends to result in problems associated with visual recognition. The other scenario where a person would have difficulties recognizing faces would be the various types of amnesia, particularly anterograde amnesia in which the patient has profound difficulty in identifying and remembering new events and the objects that are associated with them (Meck & Visé, 2015). This means that the patient has difficulty remembering newly formed memories and thus would no remember new faces he/ she meets as well. This condition has not been fully understood by scientists due to the fact that research into the memory storage is lacking and underdeveloped. The complex mechanisms involved are currently beyond the modern technological processes and thus the scientists are left with only speculations and theories for how this happens. Distinguishing between the two cases is tough but for the ant retrograde case, the patient can recognize faces prior to the loss of memory while in the agnosia case, every face is equally forgotten or discarded (Humphreys & Riddoch, 2016).
Face blindness is a condition that is rare and littles researched due to its mysterious nature. This owes to the fact that the brain is a complex organ that is yet to be fully understood by scientists. From his perspective, there is little evidence of standardized tests for identifying face blindness.
Farah , m. J. (2004). Visual agnosia. Cambridge: a bradford book.
Humphreys , g., & riddoch , j. (2016). A reader in visual agnosia. Routledge: psychology press.
Meck , s., & visé, d. D. (2015). I forgot to remember: a memoir of amnesia. New York: Simon & Schuster.