Oliver Sacks on having face blindness:
I have had difficulty recognizing faces for as long as I can remember. My inability to recognize schoolmates would cause embarrassment and sometimes offense — it did not occur to them (or to me, for that matter) that I had a perceptual problem. …. I have what neurologists call prosopagnosia — an inability to recognize individual faces as most people can.
About the time Fashion Plates were fashionable, a shift happened in how I remembered people. I would remember people’s “template” — that’s how I described it at the time (thanks TOMY) — but couldn’t remember names as well. “I know he makes me uncomfortable and feel weird…” “I know she’s always laughing out loud, and I like her sneakers …” I would recall these sophisticated 7-year-old things in an effort to remember who I was referring to. But no names would come.
Eventually, most of the time, I’d put a name with the template — yet the match was often surprising. My template didn’t match what I thought I, well, thought.
Removing detail revealed unexpected insight.