Known to doctors as Prosopagnosia, the condition affects approximately two in every 100 people in the UK and is defined as the inability to recognize individuals by their faces alone.
People are unable to recognize even their family and friends, in its most extreme form.
Milder forms of face blindness, although still distressing, can be harder to diagnose, resulting in a need for tests.
People with Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, frequently use non-facial indications to recognize others, like their clothes, hairstyle, distinctive features or voice.
Some people are unaware that they have face blindness, believing instead that they have a bad memory for faces. But Prosopagnosia is totally unrelated to broader memory ability or intelligence.
One individual with face blindness stated that their biggest problem is seeing the difference between people who look ordinary, particularly faces with minimal specific traits.
They added that they often introduce themselves to colleagues with whom they have worked with several times before. This individual with face blindness also said that they have problems recognizing their next-door neighbour despite being neighbours for 8 years. The neighbour frequently changes her clothes, hair colour and hairstyle. This makes it very difficult to recognize them at all.
Doctors are able to use computer-based tests to determine if people can identify famous faces and memorise and recognize a group of unfamiliar faces.
And now Doctors Punit Shah, Richard Cook and Kings College London and City University London have devised a 20-item questionnaire to assist in measuring the severity of one’s face blindness.
Each question is scored out of five, giving a total of up to 100. There is a shortened version created with the assistance of Dr Shah, which gives a score out of 50.
It is to be noted that the test is simply a guide and cannot tell you for sure whether you have Prosopagnosia or not.