Sunday, February 25, 2007

BBC NEWS | Technology | Emotion robots learn from people

BBC NEWS | Technology | Emotion robots learn from people

Someday, robots will be able to recognize faces better than I can, which I guess, wouldn't be hard. This article is about teaching robots to recognize emotion in the face of humans. The ability to do this varies among Prosopagnosics. Some are good at recognizing emotions, while others are not.

According to the results I just received from my battery of tests taken at the Cognitive Neuroscience Dept. at the College of London, while I scored low on the ability to recognize faces, I still scored well on the ability to read emotions of faces before me. It is amazing how specialized some of our perceptive abilities are.

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

I had the hardest time finding the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, part of the College of London, where I went to be tested. I have never been able to find my way around indoors or out, and get lost trying to find my way back from bathrooms in restaurants. I found out from Dr. Duchaine that this problem is often seen in Prosopagnosics. It's called Topographical Agnosia. so that's my problem! Or one of them at least.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cognitive Bias, Patterns & Pseudoscience « Andrea’s Buzzing About:

Cognitive Bias, Patterns & Pseudoscience « Andrea’s Buzzing About:

This essay relates directly to the previous post, and explains the phenomena called pareidolia.

Facial Recognition - Brain - Faces, Faces Everywhere - New York Times

Facial Recognition - Brain - Faces, Faces Everywhere - New York Times

While we Prosopagnosics don't always see the faces we are looking at, some people see faces in everyday objects.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Meeting Matt in London

Matt from my online Faceblind group, as I posed him in bad light so I could get him with the London Eye in the background. Tourists.

We agree to meet while I was in London learning about and getting tested for Prosopagnosia (PA). We both thought it would be interesting to meet someone with a similar lack of ability for recognizing one another. He conveniently posted himself directly beneath Big Ben, and waved to me as I approached after spotting my unnaturally red hair. I was relieved after that hard part was over, and thankful that he had made it so easy. I always have trepidation when going to meet people.

Matt again, finishing his slides on the Carsten Holler Exhibit at Tate Modern in London.

It was interesting to hear his anecdotes, and quite refreshing to speak to someone who knows what it is like to be so confused on a regular basis.

Showing off his advanced wheelie style. It takes no facial recognition ability to enjoy a good slide.

Matt had previously met someone else from the same online group who actually lives just outside London and was featured in an article in the Times Educational Supplement which I will link to in a subsequent post.

This was my first meeting with another PA, and based on my meeting with Matt, I would highly recommend it.

One thing we ended up doing is comparing anecdotes, which always happens because you just want to be able to tell people the weird situations you live through, and have them understand. We discussed coping skills, which can be valuable. I also had lots of questions about coming out to people about PA and his experience with it. He has come out to more people than I have, even though he has known about his PA for a much shorter time, partly because it is better that way in his work environment, partly because he is more brave than me.

Matt has been in touch with Dr. Duchaine, and intends to be tested quite soon. I found myself desperately wishing, even as I was taking the tests before I met with him, that he had already taken the tests so I could compare the experience with him. It is just not the same talking to a Neurotypical (NT) person about your reaction to the tests. I guess that is a good reason for us to keep in touch.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Face blindness not just skin deep -

Face blindness not just skin deep -

This week CNN aired a story on the person who started our online PA group. This is a link to a related article that contains a small video of him being interviewed.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Testing Day 1

Finished the first day of testing with Dr. Duchaine. It was intense as I thought it would be, requiring serious concentration for a couple hours. The team at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, was amiable and low-key, which helped reduce the pressure (I'm very competitive) of testing. It is great to talk to people with such a depth of knowledge on this obscure subject.

It solidified some ideas I previously had about my own face perception ability, and connected the dots in other areas. I won' t go into detail about the tests or how I did on certain sections. My results were as I would have assumed in some areas, and surprising in others. I thought I did MUCH worse on one section than my scores showed, indicating that I may not have good grasp of my own ability.

At this pointI highly recommend getting tested. It really helped coalesce, in my mind, a definition of my specific case of Prosopagnosia. This will eventually help me tell my story to others.

Tomorrow, Day 2 of testing.