Brad Pitt Says He May Suffer Face Blindness, Wants To Get Tested

Nathan Francis - Author
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Jun. 17 2013, Updated 1:23 a.m. ET

Brad Pitt may suffer from face blindness, a disorder that leaves people unable to distinguish faces.

The revelation came from a recent interview the actor did in support of his upcoming movie, World War Z. In it, the actor told Esquire that he has a hard time remembering faces of people he meets.

Pitt said he thinks this may be face blindness, or prosopagnosia, as it’s known in the medical world.

Though he’s never been disagnosed with face blindness, Pitt said his difficulty distinguishing faces has gotten him into trouble in the past.

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“So many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them,” Pitt told the magazine. “I took one year where I just said, This year, I’m just going to cop to it and say to people, ‘OK, where did we meet?’ But it just got worse. People were more offended. …You get this thing, like, ‘You’re being egotistical. You’re being conceited.’ But it’s a mystery to me, man. I can’t grasp a face, and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view. I am going to get it tested.”

After Pitt mentioned that he’d like to get tested, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University took notice. Marlene Behrmann, noted researcher in the disorder, said she would be happy to test Pitt to determine if he indeed is suffering from prosopagnosia.

Behrmann and her research team recently identified the brain system responsible for face blindness, and Carnegie Mellon is one of the few places in the world that can test for it.

“Faces are among the most compelling visual stimulation that we encounter, and recognizing faces taxes our visual perception system to the hilt,” Behrmann said in a press release. “Carnegie Mellon has a longstanding history for embracing a full-system account of the brain. We have the computational tools and technology to push further into looking past one single brain region. Face blindness is an intriguing neurological disorder, and we have already turned up a few clues as to what causes this problem. If Mr. Pitt would be willing, we would be honored to image his brain for diagnostic purposes.”

If the actor is up for the offer, Behrmann said she would test Brad Pitt for face blindness herself.

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