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Animation on proposagnosia

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

This page gives access to an animation film (about 4 minutes long) that gives you an impression of what it might be like to have proposagnosia: the inability to recognise faces. It is both enjoyable for an unprepared general audience, but also may interest people in that area of science: brain damage causing deficits (part of medicine i.e. neurology), and the psychology of how we perceive and remember which is in part informed by the kinds of problem that can be encountered.

The animation

The film is Deficit by Calum MacAulay. If you want to contact him:   07801 286784

Streaming video
Picture size Medium Small
Windows media AVI v.7 .wmv (PCs) wmv wmv
Windows media AVI v.9 .wmv (PCs) wmv wmv
Quicktime MPEG1 .mov (Macs)   QT
Picture sizes: "Medium" is 640 X 480. "Small" is a quarter the area: 320 X 240.

This is a .wmv version, viewable by Windows Media Player. The version 9 formats are supposedly faster to download, but will only work if your software has been updated within the last a year. (If it plays the sound, but no vision, you probably have a v.7 player.) If it doesn't work, I could give advice, but for most people it's just best to find a colleague or friend with a newer (more recently set up) machine.

A Mac is likely to be set up for playing Quicktime files, and a (fairly new) PC for playing Windows Media format. (But you can get both players free for both types of machine. See my hints and technical notes.)

The science: Agnosia

Calum was originally inspired by Oliver Sacks (1985) The man who mistook his wife for a hat (Picador: London) ch.1: chapter title same as that of the book. This is a highly readable book for a popular audience by a neurologist.

When people's brain is physically damaged, e.g. by a head injury, or by a stroke, their minds often show some reduction in function, often in highly specific ways. While doctors in general and neurologists in particular focus on what is wrong with the "patient" and what could be done for them, academic psychologists are interested because of what such damage can reveal about how our minds work.

"Agnosia" is a general term for problems interpreting the sensory world; ("aphasia" is the term for memory problems e.g. not being able to think of the word for an object); "visual agnosia" refers to problems in visual perception e.g. being unable to recognise one kind of object; and "proposagnosia" is the term for the highly specific deficit of not being able to recognise people's faces (though you might remember their names, and where you met them, and what you talked about). (For material on (normal) face recognition see this: page and links on face recognition.)

Inside/outside idea
Support groups?

Links .

  • Page and links on face recognition

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