prosopagnosia illustration

Mark Ingram mingram at atreus-systems.com
Tue Mar 13 11:59:19 EST 2001

While I agree with the fact that it is not necessary to diverge as far as
ape faces for this experiment to work, I respectfully disagree with both
of your conclusions.

This is neither a racist nor a biological phenomenon, but a cultural one.
If we had been brought up in a community of apes, with limited exposure
to humans, we would have exactly as much difficulty differentiating
the human faces, and no problems with the ape ones.

In other words, the ease of distinguishing faces is directly proportional
to how closely those faces correlate to the faces we saw frequently as
we were developing the face-recognition cognitive skillset.

<sound of donning asbestos suit>

-- Mark Ingram.

Filip van den Bergh wrote:

> If taken into account that specific areas in the brain are responsible from
> recognizing faces, it can be imagined that this is more of a biological
> mechanism than you suggest here. Perhaps we are simply not capable of
> differentiating facial features of other races. I would not quantify racism
> in this way.
> Aside from that, I believe that the illustration would be much more powerful
> if indeed done with people of different races. I believe it will work and it
> seems less trivial than doing the test  with ape-faces.
> Filip
> > Hi Michael,
> [snip]
> > It occurs to me that you might not need a set of ape faces at all.  This
> > phenomenon is closely related to the old racial slur, "all orientals look
> > alike to me," or "all caucasians look alike to me," or "all black people
> > look alike to me," etc, etc.
> >
> > Our ability to perceive distinguishing characteristics is apparently a
> > function of the *value* we place on the people or things involved.
> >
> > In the South, 30 years ago, all black people did in fact look alike!!
> It's
> > amazing how individualized they have become ...
> >
> > You might even be able to *quantify* a culture's racism by testing for
> > perceptual acuity ...
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Glen
> >

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net