Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some interesting quotes from the book The Mind's Eye by famous prosopagnosic Dr Oliver Sacks

"But I think that a significant part of what is variously called my "shyness," my "reclusiveness," my "social ineptitude," my "eccentricity," even my "Asperger's syndrome," is a consequence and a misinterpretation of my difficulty recognizing faces." (p. 85)

"(Though Temple is a "visual thinker" and can easily visualize complicated engineering problems, she seems to be no better or worse than average at recognizing faces.)" (p. 92, footnote about famous autist Temple Grandin)

So, we've got a supposedly non-autistic Sacks who can't recognize faces, and a definitely autistic Grandin who is apparently perfectly normal at recognizing faces. This doesn't conform to one idea about autism that is put forward by some autism experts; the concept of the face-blind autistic. Are such experts sloppily confusing the effects of pure prosopagnosia (face recognition disability) with autism/Asperger syndrome?

On the subject of Oliver Sacks and Asperger syndrome, here is a quote from a 2010 interview with Sacks from the website of Time magazine:
"[People say] I'm an honorary Tourette's because I tend to jerk and I occasionally [suddenly say something]. I am also an honorary Asperger. And I'm an honorary bipolar. I suspect we all have a bit of everything."
Sacks, Oliver (2010) The mind's eye. Picador, 2010.

Mind Reading: An Interview with Oliver Sacks
By Maia Szalavitz October 27, 2010.

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