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I remember seeing on here that there was some thread about us BPs/Aspies not being able to recognize faces and analyze facial expressions too well, so here goes...

[Names changed to protect the not-so-innocent]

Me: "Do you remember when my father worked here?"

Irene: "Of course I do! Remember, I've been here for 25 years!!"

Me: "Oh wow, you've been here as long as Ire... wait, you ARE Irene."

(I've known Irene for at least the past 4 months.)

So yeah.

;)

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So its a BP thing? I don't know how many times I have been approached by someone who knows exactly who I am and I haven't a clue.

For example this guy yells out in a store "Dee! Dee! OMG how are you? I haven't seen you in years!"

I stare blankly. Honestly I am sure I have never seen this guy in my life.

"It's me, Tom! We worked together years ago at *such and such*. Usually at this point I just fake it out. "Oh yes Tom!!! I just couldn't place your face for a second. Great to see you, blah, blah (dying to get away from this situation).

I HATE it when that happens.

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I'm pretty bad at it too.

Example - one of my ex students (I used to lecture Philosophy at my university) bumped into me in the supermarket. Conversation went along the lines of him remembering exactly who I was, telling me his life story since I (apparently - blush) saw him last etc. A year or so later I still have no idea who he actually was. Felt like an April Fools joke or some such thing.

But usually for me it's being vaguely able to recognise faces, but not having a bloody clue as to their names or the context in which I was supposed to have met them. I'm just too polite and embarrassed to ask them to contextualise themselves and tell me exactly where and how I'm supposed to know them. I've been known to carry on conversations with people without knowing who they are. Pretty feeble really.

edited because it's 3am here and I can't think straight

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when i saw was originally in bp forum, i for a second thought perhaps the topic was about face recognition but opposite -- recognizing people one has never met - misrecognizing. 'you look so familiar' .. but not as a pickup line,

as a nagging, burning, "shit -- i know i've seen this face before", but how could i because the person in front of me grew up on another continent, and moved here four years ago, and their name doesn't seem familiar at all even in that maaaybe met once in a crowded room somewhere (not that i frequent crowded rooms, but maybe you get the idea)..

somehow i figure it's just similarities in facial structure, style of hair, other acoutrements of appearance that trigger memories of other people..

a linkie: faceblindness (prosopagnosia)

(edited for nagging burning shit)

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lol. people at my work trade around nametags... i do it too, at times (i'm too tired, maybe today i'll be athena cuz maybe she's awake).

anyway, i don't know anyone's name once they aren't their own name anymore. i've worked with all these people six months.

they all let me call them whatever their nametag says and don't mind. they think i'm cute.

abifae

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Actually, folks, face issues come up in BP, too, interestingly...

In May, a study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the US National Institute of Mental Health showing that BP youths misinterpret facial expressions. This followed other research that had shown facial expression recognition problems in people with BP published in the American Journal of Psychiatry back in 2003. There have also been "theory of mind" deficit research findings in people with BP...an issue also found in people with Asperger Syndrome and autism...basically difficulty in knowing what other people are thinking (a very simplified version) but this relates to facial cues, too.

Can this come down to the "I don't know who the heck you are" experience? Perhaps. I don't know if that research has been done. ;)

~Cat

...edited for clarity...

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http://www.healthcentral.com/schizophrenia...532978-105.html

"The study, conducted at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, shows that bipolar youths misinterpret facial expressions to be hostile more often than their healthy counterparts. This misinterpretation could explain the mania and depression that plague many children with bipolar disorder, and cause problems with friendships, school and family."

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That is an interesting study, and I hadn't heard about it, but misinterpreting expressions is pretty different from misrecognizing/not recognizing faces (not to take away from the value of bringing that study up).

For some more anecdotal stuff, I've never been great with faces and names, either. With people I know well, I tend to do well recognizing them, but people I see fairly often but not constantly, like people I would run into in the hall in school, for example, or even sometimes friends' siblings or people I'd sat near in classes, I could run into them somewhere and know that I knew them, and they'd start talking to me, but I would have no idea why. I can see the face and recognize it as one that I know, but it doesn't make any connection to anything.

I also sometimes have problems with certain changes to people's appearances, but not too often. Big changes to someone's hair or glasses will sometimes confuse me a little if I'm not too familiar with how they look, or makeup, although not necessarily.

Something especially fun is that I can't picture what someone looks like in my head, no matter how well I know them, how they look, or how long I've known them. This also makes it nearly impossible to describe how they look if they're not right in front of me. I'm not terribly good at it even then, but my total inability to recall faces makes it even harder when they're gone.

I'm not going to go look anything up right now so I can cite it, since I'm waiting for someone right now, but that's not all unique to me. I've heard other AS/HFA people say similar things to a bunch of that when talking to them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i thought bipolar was on the autistic spectrum anyway. i thought that add/adhd, ocd, bp, and a few others were all on the autistic spectrum.

I'd be very, very interested to know where you heard that. I've personally never heard that any of those are actually considered to be on the spectrum, although AD(H)D is possibly related in some sort of way and at least is comorbid in a substantial number of autistic spectrum people, and OCD and some features of autistic spectrum disorders have some similarities. What I remember of mood disorders is that it's significantly more common for them to show up along side autistic spectrum disorders, especially depression, I think, but I don't really think I've seen anything saying that any of them are thought to be related to the spectrum in other ways than that.

As far as those two face recognition tests go, I was proud of myself for doing better than I thought I would on the first one...until I got the results. Turns out that I only got 50%, when the average is 85%. I suck at the recognizing faces, I suppose. I actually did a little better on the second one, although still pretty badly, but that was through sheer luck. You can guess randomly on that one and get lucky, which you can't do on the first one.

This page, courtesy of LunaRufina, is neat. Looking at the two pictures up at the top, I think I'd actually have an easier time describing the rock. I have a better set of words in my vocabulary for that task.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Abifae, I think it's more like aspi's/auti's are more fulnerable to develop further psych problems.

Anyways this erm thread seems a bit funny to me. Maybe it's my age (37) and experience, maybe it's me being overly visual focussed, But i have hardly ever problems with facial recognintion itself. I have a problem digging up the name of that person though. (Often half my history with that person flashes by in my head before i find the name back :S )

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Abifae, I think it's more like aspi's/auti's are more fulnerable to develop further psych problems.

Anyways this erm thread seems a bit funny to me. Maybe it's my age (37) and experience, maybe it's me being overly visual focussed, But i have hardly ever problems with facial recognintion itself. I have a problem digging up the name of that person though. (Often half my history with that person flashes by in my head before i find the name back :S )

Interesting for you to bring that up. My memory is entirely sensorial (photographic and audiological). I have little or no pure verbal memory, and can only recall things said to me by playing them out in my head, and recall things that I have read by visualizing the text.

I have lucid mental imagery of my third birthday (20 years ago), yet if I don't remember to take a mental picture of where I put my keys 5 minutes ago, then it'll require a 30 minute hunt to retrieve them.

And yet, there's something about faces that my visual imagery cannot process correctly. Apparently this combination of superior photographic memory and paradoxical face recognition difficulty is extremely common in Aspies (and BPs, chiefly those who have other Aspie traits).

You can imagine that my face recognition issues have not gotten any better after suffering 3 MS-like neurological attacks between October '05 and May '06. I'm convinced they left me with mild but permanent brain damage. ;)

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i thought bipolar was on the autistic spectrum anyway. i thought that add/adhd, ocd, bp, and a few others were all on the autistic spectrum.

I'd be very, very interested to know where you heard that. I've personally never heard that any of those are actually considered to be on the spectrum, although AD(H)D is possibly related in some sort of way and at least is comorbid in a substantial number of autistic spectrum people, and OCD and some features of autistic spectrum disorders have some similarities. What I remember of mood disorders is that it's significantly more common for them to show up along side autistic spectrum disorders, especially depression, I think, but I don't really think I've seen anything saying that any of them are thought to be related to the spectrum in other ways than that.

As far as those two face recognition tests go, I was proud of myself for doing better than I thought I would on the first one...until I got the results. Turns out that I only got 50%, when the average is 85%. I suck at the recognizing faces, I suppose. I actually did a little better on the second one, although still pretty badly, but that was through sheer luck. You can guess randomly on that one and get lucky, which you can't do on the first one.

This page, courtesy of LunaRufina, is neat. Looking at the two pictures up at the top, I think I'd actually have an easier time describing the rock. I have a better set of words in my vocabulary for that task.

honestly, i have no idea whatsoever where i heard it. i think it was when some of my friends were researching autism with me and it was in some book. in fact, i couldn't even tell you which of my friends mentioned the article. i just remember the time and place that it absorbed in my head as interesting and i stored it away. although i've mentioned it to two or three people who said they thought they'd read it somewhere... so maybe it was a running theory for a while but not necessarily true?

the book or article or whatever, i remember for sure, was from the BP side of things... not that autistics tend towards BP... but that BP tend to often be on the autistic spectrum.

i read that article before. i stumbled upon it. it's pretty neat! probably because i like rocks and can tell all of mine apart, but i stopped recognizing my manager because she cut her hair. lol.

abifae

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Abifae, I think it's more like aspi's/auti's are more fulnerable to develop further psych problems.

Anyways this erm thread seems a bit funny to me. Maybe it's my age (37) and experience, maybe it's me being overly visual focussed, But i have hardly ever problems with facial recognintion itself. I have a problem digging up the name of that person though. (Often half my history with that person flashes by in my head before i find the name back :S )

lol. people at my work trade nametags. the big joke is the boys wear the girls' tags. anyway, i can't recall names when they do that too well and get very confused.

my face recognition is weird. i have a lot of hallucinations, and people's faces don't stay put. so i think most of my lack of recognition is due to that. whether or not hallucinating has anything to do with autism, i don't know.

abifae

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i thought bipolar was on the autistic spectrum anyway. i thought that add/adhd, ocd, bp, and a few others were all on the autistic spectrum.

...

honestly, i have no idea whatsoever where i heard it. i think it was when some of my friends were researching autism with me and it was in some book. in fact, i couldn't even tell you which of my friends mentioned the article. i just remember the time and place that it absorbed in my head as interesting and i stored it away. although i've mentioned it to two or three people who said they thought they'd read it somewhere... so maybe it was a running theory for a while but not necessarily true?

the book or article or whatever, i remember for sure, was from the BP side of things... not that autistics tend towards BP... but that BP tend to often be on the autistic spectrum.

i read that article before. i stumbled upon it. it's pretty neat! probably because i like rocks and can tell all of mine apart, but i stopped recognizing my manager because she cut her hair. lol.

abifae

That makes it sound like something more "reasonable" (from my point of view, at least, going by what I've heard) when you word it that way. It makes it sound like bipolar people are more likely to have autistic spectrum disorders, not like bipolar itself is considered to be part of the autistic spectrum, which is how the initial wording sounded to me. Now, I don't know the stats for the comorbidity of ASDs going the other way around (how likely someone with a given diagnosis is to have an ASD compared to someone with a different diagnosis or with no psychiatric diagnosis), so I can't say off the top of my head if anything I've heard agrees with that or not, but that certainly sounds much more plausible.

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lol. people at my work trade nametags. the big joke is the boys wear the girls' tags. anyway, i can't recall names when they do that too well and get very confused.

my face recognition is weird. i have a lot of hallucinations, and people's faces don't stay put. so i think most of my lack of recognition is due to that. whether or not hallucinating has anything to do with autism, i don't know.

abifae

Current names like collegues i have no problem with recalling, It's just hard to get new names into my head, and recalling names of peeps have been out of my life for a while.

One of the tricks i use to imprint names is to fool around with the name an try to couple it to a persons characteristics. for instance you are a woman and you nick is abifae. In my language we have the word Fee ( which means fairy and sounds like the English fae) so in that way a connection is made and that makes it easier to remember ;)

Now, I've been thinking about why my facial recognition works so much better then most other ASDs, and it could well be due to me working in a club for over 15yrs now. (200+ faces a night 3 nights a week) With so many different faces you really need to be able to recall some of them.

Lucky me i never had any Hallucinations. but yes they indeed can mess things up. (my brain-movies/slide shows do that with my head. they're a bit like dreams but sometimes so vivid that i can hardly keep them apart from RL)

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Current names like collegues i have no problem with recalling, It's just hard to get new names into my head, and recalling names of peeps have been out of my life for a while.

One of the tricks i use to imprint names is to fool around with the name an try to couple it to a persons characteristics. for instance you are a woman and you nick is abifae. In my language we have the word Fee ( which means fairy and sounds like the English fae) so in that way a connection is made and that makes it easier to remember :)

I'm a really big fan of playing around with names and words like that and do it just for fun a lot of the time. Sometimes it does help me remember stuff, although my memory has been kind of an uncooperative piece of crap for the past couple years. Stupid seizures. I also have really bad social anxiety sometimes, so if I sort of remember something like that but I'm not sure, I get really worried about it and might almost have been better off not having any idea what their name was (or whatever I'm trying to remember) and wondering if I should say it and possibly be wrong in the first place. Heh.

Now, I've been thinking about why my facial recognition works so much better then most other ASDs, and it could well be due to me working in a club for over 15yrs now. (200+ faces a night 3 nights a week) With so many different faces you really need to be able to recall some of them.

Working! In a club! With 200+ people! Three nights a week! Scary! Head explode! I've worked at a couple places that had far fewer people than that, and I've decided that anything I ever do again will have any sort of customers abstracted away from me at least a couple levels, like when I had a computer programming job. The general public should generally stay in the public so I can do my job in private.

Lucky me i never had any Hallucinations. but yes they indeed can mess things up. (my brain-movies/slide shows do that with my head. they're a bit like dreams but sometimes so vivid that i can hardly keep them apart from RL)

I've had both hallucinations (olfactory, sensing something with no external stimulus) and illusions (visual, perceiving an external stimulus incorrectly). In my case, the hallucinations and a lot of the illusions are courtesy of temporal lobe epilepsy. I don't remember seeing anything that says hallucinations are directly related to autism, but people with autistic spectrum disorders are a good deal more likely to have seizures, so at least in my case, that could be a connection. Not sure about abifae. Would have to look more.

Anyway, between my brain arbitrarily deciding not to process things quite right now and then (although that's a good deal better now that I've found Topamax) and funky eye issues, seeing people's faces (and various other things) in the first place is kind of an issue. Needless to say, I didn't really miss not being able to drive when I got the epilepsy diagnosis, although technically they say my vision's good enough to get a license (the joke's on them: even if I ever do get allowed to get one, just for emergencies around town, I'm requesting a "daylight only" restriction). I'm just not so hot at figuring out stuff like who's calling my name in a crowd or group of people. You mean I have to be able to see them and recognize them? Even though they have a hat on and sunglasses?

...and I successfully dragged that post back on topic at the end. Huzzah!

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