University of Otago Psychology Department student Anna
Barham is seeking people with the cognitive disorder face
blindness to research for her master's study. Photo by
If bells of recognition fail to ring when you see what
should be a familiar face, a Dunedin student wants to study
University of Otago psychology department master's degree
student Anna Barham, of Dunedin, is seeking people with face
blindness for her research.
People with face blindness failed to instantly recognise
someone they knew.
Mrs Barham said the cognitive disorder ranged in severity.
A Dunedin teacher with the condition recognised her family
but failed to recognise her students if they changed their
hairstyle or glasses.
Another person with the condition failed to recognise their
child when collecting them after school.
The most severe cases included failing to recognise
themselves in a photograph and failing to recognise a
person's age, gender, race or facial expressions when looking
''They can't tell if someone is frowning or smiling.''
She wanted to interview people with the condition and a
partner and children to better understand the ''impacts'' of
the condition on family life.
People with the condition could become ''socially isolated''
and withdrawn by the fear of being incorrectly labelled a
Others coped by being friendly to everyone they passed to
ensure nobody was offended.
She was hopeful people with the condition would come forward
for her research.
''About 2% to 2.5% of people in the world have this from
birth but a lot of people don't realise they have it.''
University of Otago psychology department student Anna Barham
would like to interview anyone older than 18 years old who
- Has always found it very difficult to recognise people from
- Had a head injury at least a year ago and is still
experiencing difficulties which are not obvious to a casual
- Because the study is about the effects of having a
neurological condition on the family, you must have children
and a current partner to participate.
- If you are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org