Image of a brain scan with prosopagnosia

What is prosopagnosia? Everything you need to know about Brad Pitt’s face blindness

It can happen to anyone: not recognizing someone after having met them before. Brad Pitt claims his inability to remember is a condition called prosopagnosia or face blindness.

“No one believes me!” the 58-year-old told GQ for the magazine’s August cover story. “I want to meet another one.”

Although he hasn’t been officially diagnosed with the disease, he had suspicions dating back to 2013, telling Esquire that people think he’s ‘selfish’ and ‘conceited’ because he doesn’t remember it. not.

“But it’s a mystery to me, man. I can’t grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view,” he said.

Pitt said he was going to get tested for the condition. Below is an overview of the mess.

What is prosopagnosia?

Image of a brain scan with prosopagnosia
Studies have shown that approximately 1 in 50 people suffer from prosopagnosia.
Getty Images/Science Photo Balance

Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder that affects facial perception or the ability to recognize familiar faces.

There are two different types: acquired and developmental.

According to the UK’s National Health Service, acquired prosopagnosia occurs after a brain injury such as a stroke or other head injury.

Developmental prosopagnosia occurs without any brain damage. It “may have a genetic component and run in families”, according to the NHS.

What are the causes?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, face blindness is caused by “abnormalities, impairment, or damage” in the fusiform gyrus area of ​​the brain. The region “plays an important role in recognizing objects and faces,” according to ScienceDirect.

It is not caused by memory loss, blindness or a learning disability, although it may be more common in people with autism than in the general population.

What is its frequency?

Studies have shown that one in 50 people suffer from some form of prosopagnosia, with the development being the most common.

How is it diagnosed?

Brad Pitt and a brain scan
Brad Pitt claims to have prosopagnosia.
AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

Brad Pitt has not undergone any formal testing. But when he does, it will likely involve testing his ability to recognize faces, which includes showing him a set of faces and later asking him to remember them, as well as judging age, a person’s gender or emotional expression.


Symptoms vary depending on the type of prosopagnosia a person has and how severe it is.

  • Inability to recognize or differentiate the faces of people they do not know well on a consistent basis
  • Having trouble identifying a person in a different context
  • Inability to recognize faces of loved ones (severe)
  • Inability to recognize your own face (severe)

What is the treatment for prosopagnosia?

Although there is no cure for this condition, people with acquired prosopagnosia can be retrained to use other cues to recognize faces.

The NINDS suggests that people with developmental prosopagnosia may use compensatory strategies to better recognize faces.

Coping with prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia is said to be socially crippling because people with the disorder avoid social situations and “feelings of depression are common,” according to the NHS.

Pitt said he used it as an excuse to “stay home.”

“You meet so many damn people,” he told Esquire. “And then you meet them again.”

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