Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The man who mistook his wife for a hat

There are a few constants in the world of undergraduate psychology. Milgram's classic obedience experiment, the magic number 7 (plus or minus 2) and Oliver Sacks' book 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat'. It is on this latter point that I make this very short post following an interesting TV programme last night on BBC1.

The programme 'Imagine' with Alan Yentob (he of the BBC) took an up-close look at Dr Oliver Sacks, the man, the neurologist, the patient. It was indeed a revelation in yesterday's programme to learn that Sacks, who famously describes and discusses various 'unusual' conditions including his pioneering accounts depicted in the film 'Awakenings', is himself 'face blind' or suffering from the more technical term prosopagnosia.

There are quite a few reviews of the programme today, and for those lucky UK readers, a link to the BBC iPlayer to watch the whole programme again. I would strongly recommend the programme if you can see it; if not only because the man who popularised face blindness, himself provides an exquisite account of his own struggles with recognising faces.

I leave with a final link to some advancement in the area of prosopagnosia from optician Ian Jordan which might indeed be relevant to autism (at least in some cases).