View Full Version : Is there a Brain Doctor in the House ? Why can't I.....

4th Sep 2011, 19:43
Why don't I recognise some people's faces ? No rhyme nor reason, I recognise and can name not only people I see daily, but some I see only every couple of years...yet now and then it would seem someone's face just doesn't lodge in my memory banks, neither 'this time' nor 'next week' or 'next year' and Mrs OFSO may say (take your pick) "You know who that was, don't you ?" (ANSWER: NO) or "Why did you say hullo to that total stranger ?" (ANSWER: BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS....)

Nothing to do with old age, other than the fact that one's circle of casual acquaintances enlarges for every year that passes (minus the ones that die, of course) so one has more people to remember. But I've always been like that. (Or like this, if you like).

As I said, some people's features just don't register. Why ?

Time for the tinfoil helmet ? Are they amongst us already ?

tony draper
4th Sep 2011, 19:50
Suffer the same affliction meself,have done for years,one grew accoustomed to apparent complete strangers walking up to one and greeting one like a long lost brother.

4th Sep 2011, 19:55
One affliction is recognising someone when they are out of their environment (such as people who work in a 'customer-facing' workplace).

I can usually never work out where I know them from.

4th Sep 2011, 20:08
Quite normal, particularly when seeing people out of context. Happens to me daily.

I have a double in CPT, people used to come up to me and greet me effusively and I had no idea who they were, some were quite nice looking chicks too. Hasn't happened for a while so I assume he's aged a lot worse, than me and now looks like this

http://2pep.com/funny%20pics/crazy%20fun%20humor%20pictures/super_funny_pictures_of_20_dirty_old_men_20_20090729_1448150 001.jpg

4th Sep 2011, 20:11
Do you remember NAMES?

I ask because everyone is different, we remember different things. I never forget a face but I always have trouble with names, and I mean it gets to the extent I have to ask others what a person's name is. After 2 minutes, even with someone I am working with, I forget the name. It has been known for me to call people "mate" or "darling" (depending on their sex) because I have no idea what their actual name is. I use that as a conversation piece with a cutie, I tell her I have a hellish problem with names but I never forget a face or ass, but it is bloody annoying when you have such an affliction, it has resulted in a slap in the face, and there's nothing you can do about it.............

4th Sep 2011, 20:32
Some people (not me) frequently use the name of the person to whom they are talking in their conversation with them.

I never use their name - maybe that's why I sometimes have difficulty in remembering names?

4th Sep 2011, 20:42
there's nothing you can do about it............. Oh yes there is!

My dad suffered with this as life progressed. What he would do was demand to know the person's name. They would look offended, obviously, but usually divvy it up as an automatic reaction, to which he would reply: no, no, of course I know you're John, Billy, Harry etc., I've forgot your surname, which would have the twin effect of soliciting the whole of the name & usually defuse the affront in the situation.

He was a smart feller my dad, whereas I'm just a fart smeller as Peter Griffin would say.

4th Sep 2011, 20:48
I have trouble with names and faces when I've only met someone briefly.

Doesn't apply to pets though. I can remember pets names years later, just the owner's name might give me trouble.

Noah Zark.
4th Sep 2011, 21:03
The version of this affliction I suffer is that I can't scan a crowd for a known face, i.e. I might be standing somewhere in town waiting to meet wife/daughter or whoever, looking up and down the street, even in the anticipated direction of their approach, and suddenly its "Hiya, been waiting long?"

4th Sep 2011, 21:05
That make sense, vulcanised, because the dog/cat/rat/pig has had such an impression on you (whether that has been good or bad), so you remember the animal.

And, of course, the animal remembers you, and that stimulates your memory

4th Sep 2011, 21:07
My dad suffered with this as life progressed. What he would do was demand to know the person's name. They would look offended, obviously, but usually divvy it up as an automatic reaction, to which he would reply: no, no, of course I know you're John, Billy, Harry etc., I've forgot your surname, which would have the twin effect of soliciting the whole of the name & usually defuse the affront in the situation.

So it's the same as me, except I'm a bit more polite about it.......

A A Gruntpuddock
4th Sep 2011, 21:12
I can usually remember faces, but find it difficult to remember names. Even when I remember names, I have sometimes find it hard to associate them with faces.

My supreme moment was when I reamed out a guy at great length for his organisations failures, saying that I was going to write about their deficiencies to put it on record.

Only after he had left did I realise that he was from our transportation department and not a similar looking lad from BT ......

4th Sep 2011, 21:29
So it's the same as me, except I'm a bit more polite about it....... Clearly you are.


tony draper
4th Sep 2011, 21:44
Wasn't it the good Rev Spooner who said,
"I remember your name perfectly well but I simply can't recall your face"

4th Sep 2011, 22:11
I started a thread on PPRuNe a couple of years ago asking if anyone else had this problem. A few months later I saw an article in New Scientist, and apparently the condition is known as prosopagnosia:

Face blindness runs in families - life - 26 March 2005 - New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7174-face-blindness-runs-in-families.html)


I gather that in some people it is severe, being unable to recognise their own family members. With me it's quite mild, and I find some faces are much easier to remember than others.

After lots of embarrassing moments I found a way of dealing with it - now when I meet people for the first time I explain to them that I'm very bad at recognising faces and that I probably won't recognise them when I see them next time! Simple. Everyone I've explained this to has been interested, understanding and helpful when I next bump into them:

"Hello! It's me....the bloke who's been living next door to you for two years"

4th Sep 2011, 22:46
What do you do when a common name/face seems to appear only with a hat pulled down and dark glasses on?. They immediately recognize you, but do you finally breakdown and ask them to remove their disguise? or just call them darling?

I love it when a well known face and name suddenly pops up in your view thousands of miles away in a foreign country and your mind goes blank. Do you then pretend you don't see them until you can match the name and face together?. I just sneak up on them and glad hand them and watch their brain go into overload as I walk away. That's why I tend to simplify name associations down to A$$hole and Good Guy and let it go at that.

tony draper
4th Sep 2011, 22:47
The best plan of course is not to know anybody.:)

4th Sep 2011, 22:49
It's very embarrassing, isn't it! I often find myself trying to remember the name of the person I see heading towards me. I know the face, I know the person well, but the name has gone. Then they invite me to something...

I think little grey cells are dying, and with them the names that were stored there.

henry crun
4th Sep 2011, 23:43
The way round that problem Keef is to say "I'm sorry I have forgotten your name".

If they say "my name is John", you reply "I know your name is John, its your surname I've forgotten": and the reverse if they offer their surname.

4th Sep 2011, 23:46
Good idea Henry, well worth remembering that one.:)

4th Sep 2011, 23:48
Who's Henry?

4th Sep 2011, 23:59
I've met people from the past who obviously have forgotten my name. During our chat I say something such as '' Fred said to me,'' ''Pete are you playing golf this week.'' A look of relief comes over their faces and they start using my name all the time.

Mike X
5th Sep 2011, 00:03
"What's in a name?" Fill in the rest.

Loose rivets
5th Sep 2011, 09:05
Waaaaaaaaay back at my 50th birthday party, I had a mix of my wakky mates and some rather more sophisticated types I'd met in business. Two of the latter group had wives that were called Hazel, and Heather.

One name each, smarty-pants!:p

Trouble was I didn't know which was which. Being in the formal group I could just say their names. So, I threw myself on the floor, got up and said, "Oh, Sorry, Just fainted." and walked away.

I reasoned that if they don't like Basil Fawlty, they shouldn't be at my party.

Having an experimental psychologist in the family, there are always books kicking around his house like "The Man that Mistook his Wife for a Hat."

Oliver Sacks now has an amazing personal interest in his old subject, following I think, a stroke.

On a recent program with him in it, we were introduced to a man - a writer - who went down to the front porch for his paper, and found the writing looked like Arabic, or something he couldn't read. To his horror, he found he couldn't read anything in his vast collection of books. But get this: While in hospital, he was asked to try to write something. He could, and what's more, he could read it back . . . just for a few moments. That tells us so much about how the brain handles these functions.

I met a young physicist here in Essex. He couldn't recognize faces, not even his wife's. He just had to get to know her clothes.

Yeh, I've heard some bizarre excuses. :hmm:

Krystal n chips
5th Sep 2011, 10:21
Strangely, I have no problem in recollecting the faces and personalities ( loose term ) of those who are synonymous with the natural defecatory orifice (and product) on the human body and whom I have met over the years.

The little matter of legal technicalities...an inconsequential detail I know, but such is life....prevent me from naming several on here.....:E

5th Sep 2011, 10:29
Yes Krystal, it's the others, not you. Although, there is a high probablity they're doing it on purpose.

5th Sep 2011, 13:33
Thank you, wonderful to know I am not the only one, and wonderful to see so many well known names like...er, like...er, well, people whom one might recognise as contributors to JB. Only I forgot them.

I suggest we all get together for a Bash, we can all be introduced to each other, and five minutes later we will all be walking around G&T in hand, wondering who the hell is THAT ?

Krystal n chips
5th Sep 2011, 13:50
I know Para, and it's rare I agree with you, but it generally is others.....however.....I am always willing to help those who are thus afflicted and hence I offer you this link... purely to offer an insight as to what is available and the causal factors of the condition you understand...I would, after all, never venture to suggest you could benefit in some way..now would I?

Counselling for Low Self-Esteem (http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/esteem.html)

5th Sep 2011, 16:05
Your link muthafnukca, not mine.:cool:

5th Sep 2011, 16:18
EVERYONE should be forced to wear a name tag at all times.
(Except, perhaps, in the bath, It would get soggy, and what
would you pin it to?)

5th Sep 2011, 16:43
Instead of developing silly autofocus spectacles*, what we really need are AUTORECOGNITION spectacles which would whisper in your ear "it's your friend John...it's your boss...it's your neighbour... that's NOT your wife you are kissing..." etc. Well, perhaps not this last, but you get the idea.

* Next Generation Eyeglasses Have Lenses That Auto-Focus for You @PSFK (http://www.psfk.com/2011/02/next-generation-eyeglasses-have-lenses-that-auto-focus-for-you.html)

5th Sep 2011, 19:13

(Thanks to "Private Eye" for this one)

5th Sep 2011, 20:20
EVERYONE should be forced to wear a name tag at all times.

As I was for most of my time in the service, and I always thought it was a brilliant idea. On the occasions when I attempted to introduce the practice into various civilian situations, notably at schools where I taught, the suggestion was invariably rejected with total scorn, but for the life of me I could never see why.

When I was teaching in Wales I solved the problem by calling all the boys Gareth - in a fair proportion of cases it was right!

Loose rivets
6th Sep 2011, 00:06
Gareth shouted to his dad.

"Da, Da, Jones the plane is giving free flights."

Long ramble.

"That's right, you get a free flight if none of you scream during aerobatics."

up in plane. Bla bla bla

"that's amazing, Mr Evans. No one has ever remained quiet during my aerobatics . . . you get a free flight."

Mr Evans looks at the pilot. "Mind you, I almost screamed when Gareth fell out."

6th Sep 2011, 19:52
I'm with Keef, got a large flock.

Gott'a a computer to help me though.

Wun 'it be simpler if we were all called "Dave?"

tony draper
6th Sep 2011, 20:25
I worked at a place where four of the six engineers were called Dave,that can also lead to confusion.

Loose rivets
6th Sep 2011, 21:46
Or the car assembly line where they were all called Bob.

The car that is assembled by Roberts. :p

8th Sep 2011, 11:56
Names, faces, same, same. Quite vexing, really.

Some little clump of cells in the human brain case has evolved to recognize and classify the "features" of faces. If one doesn't have those connected right, or something has confused or broken them, then this evolved cognitive process may be weak, unavailable, or faulty, with the effect that the key information detection events required for effective memory do not occur properly, and the consequence is that one must work much harder for much poorer results in recollection than others intuitively and effortlessly achieve.

Having pondered the messes and gaffes that resulted from misspeaking persons' names - using the wrong one.... sometimes an extremely wrong one (no, dear, drop the candlestick - you heard wrong - I only said: "I think it might rain...") one now believes the fully mature version of the phenomenon is mostly psychological -- history has trained one to expect physical or psychic consequences for making mistakes in names and the like, so the worried brain just waffles and blathers in a pinch, rather than committing definitively to a solid mistake. Eventually this works back to the state of mind at introductions, resulting in fatally poor name storage to begin with.

What does seem to help is developing an attitude about the process that is both fatalistic and proactive -- something on the level of "I'm sure to screw this up anyway, so might as well have a good time with it." The practical extrapolation of this is training self to go on full alert when the situation of an introduction arises -- so as to surely make the worst of a bad thing. This gives an intensity of focus that can be helpful. A degree of inosuciant devil-takes-all may help as well.

The handiest vehicle is word and phrase association - in patterns that are already stored in mind and somehow mnemonic in terms of the immediate context - often helped by a play on words. For example, when introduced to a well-appointed lady at a dockside party in the Marina, a good starting menmonic for recalling her monniker might be on the order of "loose nips sink ships - and then they're likely to be Sandy". For good measure, several similar connections may be contrived in the course of a brief and observant conversation. The result is that you will recall the experience of making up all that silliness, yet have little clue regarding her real name. The next time you meet you'll be able to immediately remark about some specific of the occasion, such as "the light's not as good as when we met at Biffy's boat, but your smile is bright as ever." By repeating this a few times you may become ever closer friends, even though the best name you can recall is something like "Sandy Duck."

Months later, after several casual friendly meetings where you repeatedly mumble something about "little sandy ducks", you are moderately well acquainted. When she calls to cry about having been all-but-abandoned by her fat & conspicuously philandering hubby, who has just gone off on an extended cruise with a waitress you vaguely know as "one cheek low", you offer to come console her with some chocolates and champagne.

On arriving, you must go immediately for the prize, saying something like: "So, this surely marks a new and closer phase in our relationship. By what combination of names may I call you now?"

At this point, if one has any brains whatsoever, it makes good sense to write her answer down on a slip of paper and then to keep it safe and handy for frequent reference.

8th Sep 2011, 12:06
Thank you arcniz. Now how does one remember PIN numbers......

8th Sep 2011, 12:09
You know that white strip on the back of the card? :E

8th Sep 2011, 12:24
Thank you arcniz. Now how does one remember PIN numbers......
Yer very welcome, OFSO. Try this:

One takes some other simple number that is familiar and highly mnemonic but not absolutely bleedin' obvious, adds it to or subtracts it from the real pin number, and then writes the result on the little white strip on the back of the card.

8th Sep 2011, 13:17
Actually the ones I use every day I CAN remember. Perhaps I should add/subtract the others from these. But not write them down as they immediately smudge on thet "little strip of white paper". I know ! I'll tattoo them inside my foreskin.