In a recent interview with GQ, Brad Pitt opened up about his experience with prosopagnosia, a condition he believes is affecting him. Many people may be wondering, aside from being a mouthful, what exactly is prosopagnosia?
Although the actor has never received an official diagnosis, he attributes his inability to remember new people or recognize familiar faces to the condition, which is commonly referred to as “face-blindness.” Pitt said that this condition leaves him afraid of coming across as ‘aloof, self-absorbed,’ or appearing to be a bad guy when in reality he wants to get to know people.
Prosopagnosia is a condition that can have a significant impact on daily life. Depending on the degree of impairment, some people with prosopagnosia may only have difficulty recognizing familiar faces, while others will be unable to discriminate between unknown faces. Other people may not be able to distinguish a face as being different from an object. Some people are unable to recognize their own faces.
Prosopagnosia is not related to memory dysfunction, memory loss, impaired vision, or learning disabilities. The disorder is thought to be the result of congenital influence, damage, or impairment in a fold in the brain that appears to coordinate the neural systems controlling facial perception and memory (right fusiform gyrus).
The condition can result from stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or certain neurodegenerative diseases. Some cases are congenital or present at birth, in the absence of any brain damage. Congenital prosopagnosia appears to run in families, which makes it likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion. Some degree of prosopagnosia is often present in children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and may be the cause of impaired social development.
While there is no known cure for prosopagnosia, treatment is aimed at helping individuals develop ways to compensate. Adults who have the condition as a result of stroke or brain trauma can be retrained to use other clues to identify individuals.