Questions for ‘When every face is a stranger’s face’


Some people are unable to use faces to recognize other people, even next-door neighbors or family members.

M¬_a_y_a /iStockphoto

To accompany feature ‘When every face is a stranger’s face’


Before reading:

1.    What does it mean to recognize someone? What do you think happens in your brain?

2.    Do you ever have trouble recognizing people? What does it feel like?

During reading:

1.    What is prosopagnosia?

2.    List the two types of prosopagnosia.

3.    What are some events that can cause a person to develop face blindness after birth?

4.    Define greebles.

5.    Name at least three clues that help you recognize people, using features other than their faces.

6.    Why do scientists think there may be genes related to face blindness?

7.    How can prosopagnosics get better at recognizing people?

8.    What is oxytocin?

9.    What evidence is there that oxytocin helps people with face blindness, and how long dos its effects last?

10.  What’s the difference between prosopagnosia and normal forgetfulness?

After reading:

1.    How would your life be more difficult if you had prosopagnosia? Or, if you have trouble recognizing people’s faces, what challenges does this create for you?

2.    Imagine that you’re in a conversation with someone who doesn’t seem to recognize you. How might you remind the person who you are without embarrassing him or her too much?


1.    There were an estimated 322,094,780 people in the United States at the beginning of November 2015. If some 2 percent of the population suffers from some type of face blindness, how many people would that be? Show your calculations.