Carnegie Mellon University
May 22, 2013

News Brief: Carnegie Mellon Invites Brad Pitt To Campus For Face Blindness Diagnosis, Research

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412.260.0675 /

In light of Brad Pitt's recent announcement attributing his poor memory to prosopagnosia, or face blindness, Carnegie Mellon University extends an invitation to the actor to have his brain imaged and examined by renowned neuroscientist, Marlene Behrmann.

"Carnegie Mellon is one of the very few places that can both test for face blindness and perform the brain imaging in our state-of-the-art imaging center," said Behrmann, professor of psychology and member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Recently, Behrmann and her team of researchers identified the brain's system - an entire network of cortical areas that work together - that is responsible for face recognition. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), transformed neural visual perception research because they give scientists a focal point to develop targeted remedies for disorders such as face blindness.

"Faces are among the most compelling visual stimulation that we encounter, and recognizing faces taxes our visual perception system to the hilt," Behrmann said. "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."

Carnegie Mellon is a world leader in the brain and behavioral sciences. To build on its foundation of research excellence in psychology, neuroscience and computational science, CMU has recently launched a Brain, Mind and Learning initiative to enhance the university's ability to innovate in both the laboratory and in the world.

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