I just finished reading a great book, The Mind’s Eye, by Dr. Oliver Sacks.  Even though the book is mainly about vision, I did find several chapters interesting in terms of communication.  One chapter in particular is “Face Blind”. 

Several of my accent clients have reported their struggles with remembering names.  They were embarrassed but admitted that the problem is because “all Americans look the same”.  Well, I have finally found a reason why this happens:  prosopagnosics, or face blindness. 

Humans are predisposed to face identification.  But, it takes exposure to and practice to become very good at it.   If you are only exposed for a long period of time to people from your culture, then people outside of that culture will be harder to distinguish. 

The good news is that the longer you are here, the easier it will become to recognize once unfamiliar features.  If it really becomes a problem, you can do as the author, who is face blind says:   tell people, “I am bad with faces, can you please give me your name again”.  Once they do, and you remember them, both of you will be at ease and able to continue your conversation. 

Here’s looking at you!