Work of BU’s Centre for Face Processing Disorders featured in CBBC documentary

Posted on Tuesday, March 26 2013

The work of the Centre for Face Processing Disorders at BU was featured in a documentary on the CBBC channel.

My Life: Who Are You? followed 14-year-old Hannah, who has been diagnosed with prosopagnosia, more commonly known as face blindness.

Hannah has one of the most extreme cases of face blindness in the UK, following a brain disorder when she was eight, and cannot recognise her parents, best friend, or even her own face in the mirror.

The half-hour documentary showed Hannah and her family coming to the Centre for Face Processing Disorders at BU, and working with Dr Sarah Bate and her team.

Dr Bate, who is one of the leading experts in prosopagnosia, tested Hannah using eye-tracking technology to see where she looks when trying to recognise a face.

She also gave her homework exercises to do to try and train a different part of Hannah’s brain to help recognise people.

Dr Bate said: “[Hannah] is one of the most severely face blind people we’ve had here.

“It’s possible another part of the brain may take over and, to some extent, she might then recover some of her face processing ability.”

The documentary also shows Dr Bate conducting an exercise in one of the university lecture theatres, where Hannah had to try and pick out her friends and relatives from a line-up of people.

She manages to recognise them all, although some of them have to speak before she realises who they are.

In the documentary, Hannah also meets other people with face blindness – including Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne – to see how they deal with the disorder.

You can watch My Life: Who Are You? here.