Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Condition That Makes Prosopagnosia Even More Difficult

Prosopagnosia Radio interview: "There was an interview on BBC today (Monday 27th) - Brad Duchaine talking about phonagnosia......

Hear it at

It's about 45 mins into the programme."
Scroll the circular indicator to 41 minutes; the interview ends at around 46 minutes.

The story is about a woman who can't distinguish voices so she can't identify people
she knows by their voice. Brad Duchaine was interviewed

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taxi drivers 'have brain sat-nav'

Here is an article of interest from BBC News website for those with Topographic Agnosia, an orientation disorder which often appears in people who have prosopagnosia.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Taxi drivers 'have brain sat-nav': "Taxi drivers 'have brain sat-nav'
By Elizabeth Mitchell
Science reporter, BBC News

Sid James in a London cab (BBC)
The knowledge: London cabbies are famous for knowing their way around

Scientists have uncovered evidence for an inbuilt 'sat-nav' system in the brains of London taxi drivers.

They used magnetic scanners to explore the brain activity of taxi drivers as they navigated their way through a virtual simulation of London's streets.

Different brain regions were activated as they considered route options, spotted familiar landmarks or thought about their customers.

The research was presented at this week's BA Science Festival.

Earlier studies had shown that taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus - a region of the brain that plays an important role in navigation.

Their brains even 'grow on the job' as they build up detailed information needed to find their way around London's labyrinth of streets - information famously referred to as 'The Knowledge'.

'We were keen to go beyond brain structure - and see what activity is going on inside the brains of taxi drivers while they are doing their job,' said Dr Hugo Spiers from University College London.

Taxi driver's brain
(click on diagram to enlarge)

The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to obtain 'minute by minute' brain images from 20 taxi drivers as they delivered customers to destinations on "virtual jobs".

The scientists adapted the Playstation2 game "Getaway" to bring the streets of London into the scanner.

After the scan - and without prior warning - the drivers watched a replay of their performance and reported what they had been thinking at each stage.

"We tried to peel out the common thoughts that taxi drivers tend to have as they drive through the city, and then tie them down to a particular time and place," said Dr Spiers.

The series of scans revealed a complex choreography of brain activity as the taxi drivers responded to different scenarios.

The hippocampus was only active when the taxi drivers initially planned their route, or if they had to completely change their destination during the course of the journey.

The scientists saw activity in a different brain region when the drivers came across an unexpected situation - for example, a blocked-off junction.

Another part of the brain helped taxi drivers to track how close they were to the endpoint of their journey; like a metal detector, its activity increased when they were closer to their goal.

Changes also occurred in brain regions that are important in social behaviour.

Taxi driving is not just about navigation: "Drivers do obsess occasionally about what their customers are thinking," said Dr Spiers.

Animals use a number of different mechanisms to navigate - the Sun's polarized light rays, the Earth's magnetic fields and the position of the stars.

This research provides new information about the specific roles of areas within the brains of expert human navigators.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Something You Should Know" - Mentions Faceblindness

Transcript from radio show "Something You Should Know" with Mike Carruthers

August 8, 2008
The Crazy Things People Do
Interview with Andrew Williams, author of Are You Crazy?

Mike Carruthers:
People are weird. So many people do so many weird things that maybe being weird is normal. For example, do you know a lot of people suffer from something called face blindness?

Andrew Williams:
Approximately 5 million Americans are believed to suffer with face blindness. And face blindness is the inability to recognize people from their faces.

Andrew Williams, author of the book Are You Crazy?...

Individuals who have this cannot recognize their children, their spouses, people they work with; and those people who have it often report that if they stand on their head and look at faces upside-down, it's easier for them to recognize the individual.

It just may be that we all have something weird about us so maybe we need to be a little more understanding of people who have things like face blindness or something called pica.

Pica, or P I C A, this is eating foods that are not usually food items: coins, ash, cigarette butts, soap and coffee grounds.

It often starts in childhood, says Andrew, when kids start putting strange things in their mouths and an extreme case of pica…

It happened just last year where a 62-year-old man went to the emergency room because he had a total of 360 coins in his stomach.

And speaking of eating things…

There are individuals who are afraid to eat what they refer to as concealed food. And that is food that they can't see the inside of. So something like ravioli, they would be afraid to eat it because they don't know what's inside.

At I'm Mike Carruthers and that's Something You Should Know.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet » Blog Archive » Face Blindness

Follow this link for a video of the Prosopagnosia segment this morning (Jan 5th) on this FOX morning show. Much longer segment than I usually see. They did a good job letting the people with prosopagnosia try and explain what it is like and how they cope. Brad Duchaine provided the credibility, being one of the top researchers in this field It is so exciting to see this kind of mainstream coverage!

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet » Blog Archive » Face Blindness: "Videos » Health »

Face Blindness

Can you imagine a world where you never see a single familiar face? M&J take an in-depth look at a medical condition whose sufferers can’t recognize other people — including their own children!

For more on this topic, visit"

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet

There will be a feature on prosopagnosia today on this FOX morning show.

Brad Duchaine the well known London Prosopagnosia researcher, will be on the show around 9am, live via satellite from L.A. In the New York Studio, there will be a handfull of prosopagnosics to discuss their condition with the hosts. More media coverage to spread the word!