Prosopagnosia, or facial agnosia (from other Greek πρόσωπον , prósōpon - face and ἀγνωσία , agnōsía - unrecognition) - is a facial perception disorder in which the ability to recognize faces is lost, but the ability to recognize objects in general is preserved. It occurs with damage to the right lower occipital region, often with the spread of the focus to the adjacent sections of the temporal and parietal lobes  .
Successful therapies have been developed to help people with prosopagnosia, helping them learn to recognize people by such features as gait, hair, voice, body shape, dressing, etc. Since the face is usually the most individual and the most important distinguishing factor in memory, for people with this condition it is difficult to correctly correlate information about people and live a normal social life.
Cases of inability to recognize faces were known back in the 19th century and included cases investigated by John Hewlings Jackson and Jean Martin Charcot . But for the first time, the term prosopagnosy was used in 1947 by Bodamer ( Joachim Bodamer ), a German neurologist. He describes three cases, including the case of a 24-year-old man who, after a bullet wound to the head, stopped recognizing his family, friends, and even his own face. Nevertheless, he was able to recognize them by other sensory senses, such as hearing, tactile sensations, and even visually could distinguish them by other signs (such as gait, manner of movement, etc.).
The study of prosopagnosia was crucial in developing the theory of facial perception. Since prosopagnosia is not a common disorder (that is, different people suffer from different types and levels of impairment), it was found that facial perception has several stages, each of which can be damaged. This is reflected not only in the number of identified impairments, but also in the qualitative differences in the injuries that people with prosopagnosia may have.
These facts were key in supporting the theory that perhaps there is a certain area in the brain responsible for the perception of the face. For many people it is logically difficult to understand that we perceive faces as something special, different from the perception of the rest of the world.
There was a series of discussions about the specifics of facial perception and prosopagnosia, and some felt that this was just a subtype of visual agnosia . While prosopagnosia is often accompanied by problems with visual recognition of objects, one can often observe cases when the perception of individuals is significantly impaired.
It was suggested that prosopagnosia can be a general deterioration in understanding how the individual components of perception create a holistic form of the object .
The specificity of prosopagnosia to human faces is noted. This is confirmed by cases of violation of the recognition of human faces while maintaining the ability to recognize the faces of pets. 
More recently, prosopagnosia was considered a rare disease associated exclusively with brain damage or neurology , which had an effect on certain parts of the brain. Prosopagnosia is associated with dysfunction of the lateral occipital-temporal gyrus of the right hemisphere (Gyrus occipitotemporalis lateralis).
The latest research from the beginning of the 21st century has revealed facts indicating that prosopagnosia can take the form of a genetic disease when people are born with impaired ability to recognize and perceive faces. Case studies show that the disorder varies quite widely, and some new studies suggest that this form of the disorder can be hereditary and much more frequent than previously thought (about 2% of the population may have this disorder). It is assumed that the most common are mild forms, which affect perhaps about 10% of humanity, although no special studies have been conducted in favor of this assumption. Failure to relate information about characters in films is a common complaint.
Prosopagnosia is caused by trauma, or by tumor growth, or, most often, by vascular disorders in the right lower occipital region, often with the spread of the focus to the adjacent sections of the temporal and parietal lobes. Other aspects of the recognition system in prosopagnosics usually remain intact. But this is not a defect in perception, since such patients can easily determine whether two persons are the same or not. Moreover, they recognize a person if they look at him and at the same time hear his voice. Thus, prosopagnosia is a modal-specific disorder in which visual information does not interact with information of other modalities and therefore cannot be interpreted as one or another image stored in memory.
It is characterized by a violation of the recognition of familiar faces. Recognizing parts of the face and distinguishing the face from other objects, patients cannot determine its individual affiliation, sometimes they are not able to distinguish between faces of men and women, especially their facial expressions. People of close relatives (husband, wife, children, attending physician) will also not recognize, and in severe cases they will not recognize their own face in the mirror. When recognizing people, patients use workarounds, for example, recognition by voice, gait, smell of perfumes, etc. Often, recognition of animals and birds is also violated. In mild cases, recognition of faces is violated only in photographs and in films. There is reason to regard agnosia on faces as a manifestation of a more general defect - the inability to assess the originality of an object or its image from one or another concrete visual signs, which allows you to recognize this particular object among objects of the same type, for example, find your mug or comb among others mugs or combs. On this basis, this form of agnosia is often referred to as agnosia of individualized traits. Facial agnosia can occur in the absence of objective and other agnosia, but in some cases it is combined with other gnostic disorders, in particular simultaneous or color agnosia or unilateral optical-spatial agnosia and disturbances in the “body pattern”.
A person with various forms of prosopagnosia is usually no different from a healthy person. One of the first complaints of the patient will be that it is difficult, sometimes impossible to distinguish on the new photographs the faces of relatives, friends. It becomes difficult for him to distinguish heroes in films - they are for him on one face.
According to Antonio Damasio , some patients with severe forms of prosopagnosia do not distinguish not only faces, but generally any objects belonging to the same type of objects. For example, they perceive a person only as a person, a car as a car and cannot determine whose face it is or what brand this car is.
Another interesting side of the problem: prosperity in old age affects mainly left-handed people.
Another phenomenon of prosopagnosia is the worst memory of people with whom the patient comes into contact in everyday life, rather than distant relatives. Most likely, this is due to several factors:
- in everyday life, people constantly change clothes - it is difficult for a patient to adapt and remember these little things;
- with distant relatives and distant friends, the patient often contacts by phone - this contributes to better memorization of the voice, manner of conversation.
The patient is not able to determine who is approaching him - a friend or a stranger (unless he understands this by his clothes or gait), whether he needs to stop, smile and speak, or whether to follow by without reacting to the person. If friends and family are not aware of the presence of prosopagnosia, this can lead to a sharp break in social contacts. Social isolation, from which undiagnosed prosopagnosis suffers, emphasizes the role of face recognition in modern, and even more primitive, societies.
In the literature
- A classic case of prosopagnosia is presented in the book by Oliver Sachs, “ A Man Who Confused His Wife with a Hat ” (1985). Despite the fact that the main character, Mr. P., cannot recognize his wife by the face, he recognized her by voice. He recognized his friends and relatives in photographs by such features as a broken tooth. Oliver Sachs himself also suffered from prosopagnosia.  
- Lewis Carroll " Alice Through the Looking Glass ". Saying goodbye to Alice, Humpty Dumpty says that at the next meeting she does not recognize her, because she cannot distinguish her faces from those of other people. Thus, Lewis Carroll gives one of the first descriptions of prosopagnosia - a mental disorder expressed in the inability to recognize faces. Unofficially, this disorder is sometimes called Humpty Dumpty Syndrome.
- Prosopognosia affects the inhabitants of a small island in the Baltic Sea - the heroes of the detective "Island", written by a neuroscientist, professor at the Higher School of Economics Vasily Klyucharyov.
In the movie
- “ Faces in the crowd ” ( Eng. Faces in the Crowd ; 2011). The plot tells of a terrible tragedy that occurred in the life of a young woman. After a serial killer attack, a complex head injury made her virtually helpless. She does not remember people's faces at all, and as soon as they disappear from her field of vision, they are erased from her memory forever.
- “ All-in 3 ” ( Polish. Vinci ; 2004). In the storyline of the film appears a hero named Werbus, a mine worker who provides all sorts of help to the main characters. Werbus in the story suffers from prosopagnosia, cannot recognize its own children, confuses the main characters; in one scene he asks the main characters not to take off their helmets so that he can recognize them.
- " Hannibal " ( Hannibal ). In the series “Cold Snacks” ( Buffet Froid ), a girl appears who has lost the ability to distinguish people's faces.
- A mild form of this disease was diagnosed by Brad Pitt .
- “ ” ( Rich man, Poor woman ) - the protagonist of the Japanese drama , Hyuug Toru, a billionaire, has an acute illness. He had to memorize the names of his employees and friends instead of remembering their faces. I remembered the name of the main character due to the similarity with the name of the mother who betrayed him. There is a Korean version of the drama - “ ” ( Rich man ).
- “ Nice guy ” - the hero of the Korean drama, Kang Ma Roo, begins to suffer from prosopagnosis due to a complicated operation.
- ( Syndrome ; 2012), the heroine of the Korean drama, Oh Eun-hee, begins to suffer from prosopagnosis due to the mistake of her husband, a doctor.
- “Remember Everything” ( Re-memory , 2012) - the heroine of a Korean film, a woman with prosopagnosia, becomes a witness to the murder in the gallery where she works.
- “The ” ( The Mermaid , 2014) - the hero of the Korean drama, Shi Kyung, suffers from prosopagnosia.
- ( Sensory Couple , 2015) - a Korean drama hero, serial killer, suffers from prosopagnosia.
- “ Slow Development ” ( Arrested development , 2003) - In the fourth season of the American sitcom, a minor hero appears, named Marquez, suffering from prosopagnosia.
- " Rizzoli & Isles " ( Rizzoli & Isles ) - in the sixth episode of the sixth season appears a minor hero Elliot Dutton with prosopagnosia.
- “ ” ( The Undateables ) - with the 3 episode appears a chocolatier girl suffering from prosopagnosia.
- “ The Beauty Inside ” ( The Beauty Inside , 2018) is a Korean drama based on the , whose main character (So Do Jae) suffers from prosopognosia.
- “ The Secret Life of My Secretary ( The Secret Life of My Secretary , 2019) - the main character, Do Min Ik, after an injury loses her ability to recognize faces and only recognizes her secretary, who always walks in the same clothes.
- Agnosia on Faces (prosopagnosia) (Inaccessible link) . Date of treatment March 9, 2014. Archived March 9, 2014.
- McNeil, JE, &. Warrington, EK (1993). Prosopagnosia: A face specific disorder. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Experimental Psychology, 46, 1-10.
- Face-Blind . The New Yorker. Date of treatment July 26, 2016.
- Prosopagnosia: Oliver Sacks' Battle with "Face Blindness" . Date of treatment July 26, 2016.