Wait…Who Is This?
If you often have trouble identifying a person on the phone without seeing his/her name or number first, you're not alone. The inability to identify voice alone is called phonagnosia. "Phon" is from the Greek word meaning "voice," and "agnosia" means "loss of knowledge." According to a new study, about 3 percent of people have difficulty recognizing voices.
The study tested 730 participants' ability to identify the voices of well-known celebrities with whom they were familiar. Interestingly, researchers found a higher than expected number of participants were terrible at recognizing the voices.
People with phonagnosia do not have trouble hearing and can perceive differences in voices, but they are unable to connect the voice to the face. They also don't have difficulty imagining the sounds of objects like breaking glass or screeching tires. The condition is similar to prosopagnosia, also called "face blindness," in which people have difficulty recognizing faces. Next, researchers will try to locate the area of the brain that connects voices to recognition.
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