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syrella
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18 Nov 2011, 11:41 am

It recently occurred to me that I can't remember people's faces. I'm able to recognize them when I see them, for the most part, but when asked to recall or describe someone, it's like there's a blank page where their face is supposed to be. I can't visualize it at all. I'm able to say things like, "Well, so and so is tall and has black hair." Beyond that, I really don't know. I can't tell you what color their eyes are or how big their nose is, even people I interact with regularly like my family.

Is this a common thing?


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SyphonFilter
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18 Nov 2011, 11:55 am

I don't know if it's common or not, but I have the same problem. I can remember what their face looks like, but when asked to provide a description, I can only tell you what color their hair is, if they're tall or short, stuff like that.



Ria1989
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18 Nov 2011, 11:58 am

I can for the most part, but that's only because I love drawing peoples' heads. Sounds weird, but I concentrate on every aspect. Of course more in parts than a whole.


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SyphonFilter
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18 Nov 2011, 12:02 pm

Ria1989 wrote:
I can for the most part, but that's only because I love drawing peoples' heads. Sounds weird, but I concentrate on every aspect. Of course more in parts than a whole.
Sort of like seeing a couple of trees, then realizing they're part of a bigger forest. I also see things in parts, rather than as a whole.



sogj
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18 Nov 2011, 12:19 pm

This is exactly my problem as well. I got lost in SeaWorld when I was 6 and a security guard found me. He asked me what my mother looked like and I literally couldn't remember. I was six years old and couldn't pull up my mother's face. (Honestly, I feel like that should have been a red flag for them at some point.)

I still can't. If I try to picture in my head characters faces in books I'm reading or my husband's face or my kid's face I can get bits and pieces but I can't see the whole thing at once. Now I can pull up pieces and give details but I can't see the whole thing. It's very frustrating.


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mar00
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18 Nov 2011, 12:23 pm

I think Im quite good at it since Im so drawn to details (unless I can't be bothered as in language). Idk why I always stare at peoples faces I just wanna know who they are. But sure I don't remember them for a long time - and most visual memories get blurred.
Ed: This is interesting I've just realized that I can't really remember/visualize the whole thing at once its like zooming to various bits.



SilverShoelaces
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18 Nov 2011, 12:27 pm

I have always had that problem. Until I learned what ASDs were, I thought it was a result of my nonverbal learning difficulties, but prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces) and prosopamnesia (the inability to remember them) are apparently really common (relatively speaking, of course) among people with ASDs. What I would really like to know is if there are any psych studies analyzing the relative frequency of face blindness among people with ASDs.



AngelKnight
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18 Nov 2011, 2:50 pm

This happens to me all the time: for about a day and a half, I'm unable to properly remember the face of a person I've just met. I can "index" the person through other hints but images in my mind of that person's face will not be true to their actual face, and there is like an alarm in my mind warning me that the face I'm imaginging is an approximation.

After day and a half, I have no trouble remembering said person's face, sometimes years later. Most likely, long after I've forgotten that person's name or the circumstances under which we first met. Feh. I think my brain hates me, and this is one of many expressions of that hatred.



guywithAS
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18 Nov 2011, 3:22 pm

for those of you that can't recognize faces -- how much eye contact do you make during conversations?

try watching an NT -- they will almost stare intently at the other person during a conversation.

in my experience with 2 people with face blindness so far, they spent 99% of the time during our conversations looking away. it seems that the brain needs a certain amount of stimulation by looking directly for facial recognition to happen.

i believe this is not just the cause of face blindness, but also autism. and if you could somehow train yourselves to make eye contact and study faces you would see dramatic improvements in your quality of life over 12-24 months.



NaomiDB
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18 Nov 2011, 3:36 pm

Yeah I'm like that but somtimes I can't even remember what color their hair is It's just blank, It's like i can see a really fuzzy outline Somtimes i would meet a guy forget what he looks like, agree to go on a date with him then realise he is hidious and I'm not attracted to him atall after meeting him a second time, after knowing somone a while I tend to study their face and remember everything about them, but if its just a few times or if i find them boring it just slips right out my mind



felinesaresuperior
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18 Nov 2011, 3:44 pm

i was seven or eight and we were at my grandmother's house. my mother walked out of the room and came back wearing a wig. she looked at me and asked, "how are everyone?" and i stared at that stranger, wondering where i've seen her before because she looked somehow familiar...
i worked in a subway sandwiches and the cop that used to go there all the time came in wearing plain clothes. i gave him his order and said, "thank you for buying at subway sandwiches." the manager told me who it was and added he was staring at me, but i didnt realize that, either.



Life_In_Defiance
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18 Nov 2011, 4:00 pm

Some one in my family went through this and the condition I found was that face blindness is called Prosopagnosia. There is different levels and different types whether you do not recognize someone at all, or when you recognize them the moment you see them. Also prosopagnosia would explain the focus on hair, clothing and other details other than the face. This term might not apply to you but is a term from which you can find more information about.



sogj
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18 Nov 2011, 4:01 pm

guywithAS wrote:
i believe this is not just the cause of face blindness, but also autism. and if you could somehow train yourselves to make eye contact and study faces you would see dramatic improvements in your quality of life over 12-24 months.


That's not true.

I make eye contact but still can't remember faces.

Autism is fundamentally caused by an inability in the brain to process sensory information correctly. Someone with autism who learns to look at faces might improve his quality of life, but will not "cure" his autism. The only thing that could do that would be a rewiring of the brain which is decades away, if even possible.


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guywithAS
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18 Nov 2011, 4:08 pm

sogj wrote:

That's not true.

I make eye contact but still can't remember faces.


do you feel you make exactly the same amount of eye contact as an NT during a conversation?



emtyeye
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18 Nov 2011, 4:15 pm

I have always had trouble recognizing people's faces. Some people are less problematic and some just don't stick. A lot of times, people look familiar but I feel uncertian if it is the person I think it is. Once I saw my boss (I think it was my boss) at the video store but I was so unsure wheather it was him or not that I got all confused as to what to do. It's very frustrating and can be embarresing or hurt people's feelings. I have learned to smile and nod and act like I recognize people if they seem to recognize me even if I have no idea who they are or if I ever met them. Then other times I do recognize people but am unable to show it. I must be very annoying.



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