Prosopagnosia's Affect on Daily Life

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In Psychology, there are a wide range of disorders, all of which disrupt a person’s life at varying levels. As a result of this, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used to diagnose a person with a certain disorder and determine the extent to which the disorder affects their ability to function in society. However, the DSM-IV does not address all of the disorders that people can be troubled with. There are four axes to the DSM-IV: axis I which takes into account clinical disorders, axis II looks at personality disorders, axis III diagnoses acute medical conditions, axis IV is psychosocial and environmental factors and axis V determines a person’s ability to function in society. Agnosia is one of the many disorders that cannot be classified under the any of the axes of the DSM-IV although it is a brain disorder. A specific type of agnosia that has recently been heavily represented in the media is prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is a mysterious disorder as the etiology is unknown and there is much variance to the disorder by the individual. As the degree in which this disorder affects the lives of people cannot be determined using typical methods, to what extent does prosopagnosia affect a person’s life?

Prosopagnosia is the scientific name for what is commonly known as “face-blindness.” It is a neurological disorder characterized by a person’s lack of ability to recognize faces (“Prosopagnosia Information,” 2007). What makes a person having prosopagnosia different than a person who is just “bad with faces” is that, with prosopagnosia, a deficit in face recognition in the presence of relatively normal object recognition exists (Righart & Gelder, 2007). This means that a person with prosopagnosia cannot recognize...

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