Explanation For ‘Face Blindness’ Offered

From ScienceDaily.com:

For the first time, scientists have been able to map the disruption in neural circuitry of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia, sometimes known as face blindness, and have been able to offer a biological explanation for this intriguing disorder.

…[U]nlike that of normal brains, there was a reduction in the integrity of the white matter tracts in the brains of individuals with congenital prosopagnosic. Moreover, the extent of the reduced white matter circuitry was related to the severity of the behavioral impairment.

…People with congenital prosopagnosia are not able to recognize faces, while the ability to recognize other objects may be relatively intact.

…So far, few successful therapies have been developed for affected people, although individuals often learn to use feature-by-feature recognition strategies or secondary clues such as hair color, body shape and voice. Because the face seems to function as an important identifying feature in memory, it can also be difficult for people with this condition to keep track of information about people, and socialize normally with others.

[T]hese individuals appear not to be able to compensate for their inability to recognize faces even though they have had ample opportunity to do so over the course of development,” said Marlene Behrmann, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon.

Behrmann said the team was excited by the possibility that the failure to propagate signals between different regions of the brain might provide a biological explanation for this perplexing disorder.

So distressing to have myself and my face-blind peers around the world referred to as “[T]hese individuals”, and have our brains presented in stark contrast to “normal brains”.

On the other hand, you’d have to say that normal people, when picking up their son at school, wouldn’t have to stare into the crowd on Day 3,000 and wonder if that kid was the one. And really, on balance, it’s a relief to know that there’s a real physical reason for it, and not me just being goofy.

Read the full article in Science Daily.
November 28, 2008

As well, here’s something that made me laugh out loud when I saw it used recently on a forum: someone had posted a message about some subject (as it might be, face blindness), and someone else had posted a reply, asking for a link to more information on the topic. In short order, a link had been posted in a reply, along these lines:

“Sure, it’s here.”

Oh, that made me laugh and laugh.

Surprising Captions During “The Big Bang Theory”

So, there we were, about 17 minutes through tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, and suddenly, the closed captioning diverted radically from what the characters were actually saying.

Closed captions: […going along normally, matching the acting, and suddenly:]

“…but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense, because her mouth is on her face, but she talks out of her ass!
I’m kidding.
I’m kidding!
I love Ann Coulter!”

…and then no more captions for the rest of the show!

She does talk out of her ass, though.

See the vanity card for this episode:
Chuck Lorre Productions #240

Toxic Mall Wife

I must write up the wonderful Saturday that I had with Industry Figure Larry Helmerich, but this is…well, easier, and I really laughed at the metaphor:

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of the problem: We are reliably informed that whatever part of the economic crisis can’t be pinned on Wall Street — or on mortgage-related financial insanity — can be pinned on consumers who overspent. But personal consumption amounts to some 70 percent of the American economy. So if we don’t spend, we don’t recover. Fiscal health isn’t possible until money is again sloshing into cash registers, including those at this mall and every other retailer.

In other words, shopping was part of the problem and now it’s part of the cure. And once we’re cured, economists report, we really need to learn how to save, which suggests that we will need to quit shopping again.

So the mall we married has become the toxic spouse we can’t quit, though we really must quit, but just not any time soon. The mall, for its part, is wounded by our ambivalence and feels financially adrift.

Read the Full Story at the New York Times (while they’re still a going concern!)
“Our Love Affair With Malls Is On The Rocks”
January 31, 2009