Prosopagnosia: What is the state of facial blindness Brad Pitt is talking about?

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Brad Pitt spoke in an interview about his self-diagnosis a condition called prosopagnosia. The condition, also known as “face blindness”, is defined as a condition in which a person cannot recognize people’s faces. In an interview with GQ, Pitt, who has yet to be formally diagnosed, shared that it has caused him problems in various social settings and made him afraid that people think “he’s distant and aloof, unapproachable, self-centered.” He also said that no one believes he has the disease and he wants to meet someone else who shares his struggle.

What causes prosopagnosia?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, prosopagnosia is caused by abnormalities, damage, or disorders in a part of the brain called the right fusiform gyrus, which controls facial perception and memory. The site also states that the condition can be inherited and is often seen in children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

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The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, or certain neurodegenerative diseases. Sometimes it can be caused by nothing at all, and people are simply born with it without any other brain damage.

Pitt's condition, prosopagnosia, causes him to struggle to recognize people's faces.

Pitt’s condition, prosopagnosia, causes him to struggle to recognize people’s faces.
((Photo by ROBIN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

What is an example of prosopagnosia?

Quite often, people fail to say a name to a face from time to time. Per people with prosopagnosia, this problem is more than rare and happens all the time. People with prosopagnosia sometimes cannot even recognize their family members or their friends. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are different levels of the condition based on severity. Some people only have difficulty recognizing familiar faces, while others cannot distinguish unfamiliar faces. There are others who cannot recognize their own face, or some cannot distinguish a face from an object.

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How do I know if I have prosopagnosia?

The main symptom of the disease condition – inability to recognize faces. It happens to people in person or to people seen in photographs. People with prosopagnosia also have a hard time describing the person and how they look to someone else. To diagnose someone with the condition, a person can be given a test that assesses facial recognition skills, such as remembering new faces and recognizing them later.

Pitt has never been officially diagnosed with prosopagnosia.

Pitt has never been officially diagnosed with prosopagnosia.
(Photo by ROBIN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Can it be cured?

Right now, no cure for prosopagnosia. Some therapies that help people with this condition focus on trying to find different ways to recognize people beyond their facial features. This can be done by listening to the person’s voice, picking up on their mannerisms, and focusing on the verbal cues the person is giving.