As with the two cups, all things made of parts need to be 'put together' visually, including faces.
People are tricky because they move about and change and there are so many of them. Meeting someone, and remembering them by their face can be challenging with simultanagnosia. Also challenging is correctly reading expressions, for example a warm smile, serious stare, confused look etc. It is very easy to completely misread a situation, for example not laughing when a facial expression, rather than tone of voice, indicated the person is being sarcastic or joking. This can lead to people lacking confidence in unfamiliar social situations.
If you are somewhere familiar with someone you know and are relaxed with, you may well be able to see their whole face easily. When in a more challenging place, where you are managing not just simultanagnosia, but also optic ataxia and consequential lack of visual attention, for example meeting someone in the street, it may become considerably more challenging.
With the photos below, we asked Mary who has simultanagnosia what she could see.
Mary saw only the glasses, leaving minimal useful visual information to recognise the same person again.
Challenges with recognising faces due to simultanagnosia are not the same as a condition called prosopagnosia, which we will discuss in Section 3
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