Romina Palermo, a face researcher at the Australian National University, has already shown some success with a youngster who has congenital prosopagnosia.
The mother suspected her
4-year-old daughter had face blindness, Dr. Palermo
said, because the girl had trouble recognizing her
father when he
played in football matches and because of incidents like the time the mother came out of the shower.
"I had wet hair and my daughter got very upset and was crying because she
didn't think I was her
told the researcher.
When Dr. Palermo
tested 13 members of the girl's extended family, a majority of them struggled with face identification, suggesting the disability might be inherited.
then photographed 20 relatives of the girl, and had the girl identify three distinctive features for each face, "like bushy eyebrows or big lips," and then study the photos once a day.
At first, the girl couldn't even pick her
own photo out of the array, but after a month of training, she
was much more skilled.
noticed that instead of looking at the fringes of each face, the girl was gazing at the center, "suggesting that maybe if you focus on areas of the face that are important, you can get good results."
Unfortunately, Dr. Palermo
has not obtained enough grant money to continue her
training with other children who have face blindness.