Living in a Faceless World

2 February 2017

Ben Dingman Period 2 October 2, 2012 Living in a Faceless World Imagine not being able to recognize your parents, living your everyday life at school and work, let alone recognizing yourself when you look into the mirror. Living in a Faceless World written by Joshua Davis is an article of how Brad Duchaine tries to solve the mystery of prosopagnosia. Fortunately, the majority of people don’t have to life with this condition. Duchaine’s first studies were on Zoe Hunn and Bill Choisser and how the condition affected their lives personally.Duchaine tried to help them learn more about their condition. Our parents most of the time pass down at least one trait that we are not too fond of.

Unfortunately in Zoe Hunn’s life case, her father passed down prosopagnosia. Both of them just assumed they were bad with faces. Since Zoe couldn’t even recognize herself, she had no idea how gorgeous she was. When she was fourteen years old, her friends convinced her to do a modeling contest with them; which she ended up winning. Her prize was an offer from a modeling agency. She ended up being signed by Models 1 in London.Whenever she looked at photos, she could never recognize or spot herself.

Living in a Faceless World Essay Example

Since she was completely unable to appreciate how beautiful she was, she decided to go see a doctor. When the doctor didn’t find anything abnormal about her, he suggested counseling for shyness. Zoe never got actual help for her problem. She continued to travel and pursue her modeling career. When she was in Edinburgh, Scotland for the annual theater festival; she saw a performer that changed her life. His name was Mick and he was a tall mime with white hair and intense black eyebrows.Davis stated on page 53, “He was the first person she felt she’d ever really seen.

” Mick was also the first person she had ever recognized, due to his distinctive features; she realized that when she saw him again at a bar and knew who he was. She was so compelled by this experience that she had to go introduce herself. From the first they met they were madly in love with each other and soon afterwards they were walking down the aisle to get married. One day in their new home, she came across an article about a man named Brad Duchaine and his work with face blindness.It described everything that she has been going through her whole life; symptoms like the incapability to recognize faces, leading to social embarrassment and a sense of isolation. She was overwhelmed with emotion when she read this because it helped explain to her who she was. Bill Choisser is another person who suffers from fact blindness.

He thought he was normal because he assumed that nobody saw faces either, however, he slowly figured out that he was abnormal. Choisser grew up to be a lawyer but he had some setbacks due to his condition.As Davis further explains on page 52, “During the 1970s, as a small-town lawyer in the Illinois Ozarks, he struggled to convince clients that he was competent even though he couldn’t find them in court. He never greeted the judges when he passed them on the street – everyone looked similarly blank to him – and he developed a reputation for arrogance. ” Prosopagnosia even affected his family life; he grew distant from his mother. After being fed up with the feeling of emptiness, he left town and wanted to find a way to better his life. He got a job as a number cruncher at a construction firm in San Francisco.

This job was good for him because it kept him isolated and he didn’t have to talk to people much. He felt a sense of freedom since his was far away from home, and started to wear colorful bandanas and let his hair grow out. With doing so, his appearance was distinguishable enough to help him recognize himself. With this recent confidence boost, it gave him the confidence to go see doctors. One doctor suggested that he might have emotional problems and referred him to a psychiatrist but no medicine worked. He decided to post a message about his experiences on a Usenet group, which was devoted to people with neurological problems.His subject was “Trouble Recognizing Faces”, and soon after he got a reply from somebody who had the same issue.

Brad Duchaine, an upcoming neuroscientist, struggled to fine a suitable subject for research. One night when he was having dinner with his parents and one of their friends, he talked about how he knew someone who couldn’t recognize faces. Duchaine wanted to find out more so he decided to call their parents. The father that he spoke to referred him to Bill Choisser’s Yahoo group and Web site; where there were a community of people with “face blindness” chatting online, discussing their issues.This was Duchaine’s big break to become a neuroscientist; seeing how nobody had actually studied the issue. A German doctor had previously named the condition “prosopagnosia” after observing an army lieutenant who had survived getting hit in the head by shrapnel. After Duchaine contacted Choisser, Choisser agreed to be his first clinical subject.

Choisser was tested on his ability to recognize small differences between the same types of objects. Davis states on page 53, “In one exam, Duchaine asked him to memorize the details of a particular house.Duchaine then showed him 150 pictures of other houses and randomly threw in images of the original. ” Choisser was successful in identifying it. After running other tests, it was apparent that the brain’s system for processing faces is separate from its system for discerning other things. Duchaine contacted and tested other people with the same condition and found tons of evidence that supported the fact that they can differentiate objects, just not faces. In 2004, he and Ken Nakayama conducted studies to find out the number of people who suffer from prosopagnosia.

They assessed 1,600 people online, giving them face-recognition tests, and found that 32 had severely impaired face recognition. A German researcher also found that 17 out of 680 high school and college students had prosopagnosia as well. If the ratio was consistent, that would mean that nearly 6 million people in the US are face blind. In conclusion, prosopagnosia has a huge impact on people’s lives. For instance, Zoe Hunn, a rapidly rising model, didn’t even know she was beautiful because she couldn’t recognize herself.

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