Friday, June 15, 2012

Face-seeing Friday Random Ten

The other book I've been reading this week is You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers. I don't read many memoirs, but have a standing interest in neurology, so its subject of prosopagnosia attracted me. Prosopagnosia is more commonly known as face blindness, and to be precise it's an inability to process faces in a way that you can reliably recognize them. Prosopagnosics learn to recognize people by hair, clothing, gait, etc and are easily thrown when they meet familiar people out of context. Of course it's not all that commonly known under any name, which is a big part of the problem for Sellers well after she grows up. While she's growing up her parents are... Well, let's just say the early chapters make the book seem more miserable than it actually turns out to be. Overall the book paid off for me. Somewhat ironically I was mutually recognized by a guy I knew in college while finishing up the final chapters.
  1. Morphine - I'm Free Now
  2. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five - Fireworks
  3. Todd Rundgren - I Went to the Mirror
  4. The Beatles - You Won't See Me
  5. The New Pornographers - Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
  6. Ladytron - Ambulances
  7. Sarah Vaughan - Words Can't Describe
  8. Sonic Youth - Stones
  9. The White Stripes - I Want to Be the Boy That Warms Your Mother's Heart
  10. Radiohead - High and Dry


susan said...

I was probably near sighted for a couple of years before it was determined I needed to wear glasses but by then I'd already developed the habit of recognizing people by those other methods. Have you noticed the initial shock of meeting someone you haven't seen for many years is immediately followed by complete acceptance that the way they look now is the way they always did? People are marvels.

I can never think of a Louis Armstrong song without remembering your grandad. He always loved him and happily we got to see him perform in concert one summer afternoon at the CNE in Toronto.

Ben said...

Prosopagnosia is a funny subject. It's not actually a visual problem, but rather a perceptual one. The eyes take in all the information they're supposed to, but for whatever reason the brain can't put everything together to make sense of the face. There are other kinds of agnosia too, including motion blindness. Think about that for a minute.

I knew Grandad was a fan of old Satchmo. That's one of the reasons I like hearing him. I didn't know the two of you got to see him. I'm happy to hear it, though.