The Phoenix

Monday, November 03, 2008

James Bond Stronger Than Phonagnosia?

From the journal Neuropsychologia is an article about a woman that suffers from phonagnosia. This is a very rare neurological disorder where the patient is not able to recognize anyone's voice. This might not sound like such a big deal, but imagine if you could not make out a loved one's voice EVER.

People who suffer from phonagnosia usually do so as a result of a stroke or brain damage. But this lady, only identified as K.H., has had the strange disorder since birth.

When she picks up the phone, she cannot recognize her family or friends, so they have to use a series of codes so she can identify them.

Recently, Dr. Brad Duchaine and Lucia Garrido of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience did several interesting tests with K.H. to understand her disorder more. One test involved distinguishing emotional sounds - achievement/triumph, amusement, anger, disgust, fear, pleasure, relief, sadness and surprise.

K.H. could identify the emotional state of the person speaking 80%of the time, just like the control group. K.H. also did well on all music tasks, identifying famous tunes and discriminating between instruments. K.H. even says that she is able to enjoy and appreciate music, though she usually doesn’t recognize singers.

How weird is that?

Another test involved the group listening to famous people speak and identifying them. K.H. could only identify ONE voice - not Margaret Thatcher, David Beckham, or a bunch of other famous people from the U.K....just one person could still somehow etch their vocal magic onto K.H.'s brain:

The manly voice of 007 himself, Sean Connery.

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Blogger BrianAlt said...

That's cause she's shaken, not stirred!

11/03/2008 10:37 AM  
Blogger Karen said...



11/03/2008 12:07 PM  
Blogger ajooja said...

Yesh, Pusshy Galoooore!

11/03/2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

well....he DOES has a great voice.... ;-)

11/03/2008 8:52 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

All she needs to do is marry Sean, and all will be well!

I wonder if she recognizes her own voice ...

11/06/2008 4:26 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

I would not like having this at all.

I am reading a book of a woman who has autophobia. it's creepy too

11/06/2008 9:54 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

That would drive me bananas, not recognizing anyone's voice.

11/10/2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

James Bond is stronger than many things. I'm sure many of his villains had neurological disorders.

11/11/2008 7:07 AM  
Blogger delmer said...

I'd read, once, about a condition in which people could not recognize faces of others.

(Did I read that here?)

11/13/2008 12:34 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

That's certainly a great voice to remember!
I'm glad she was not cursed to only recognize the laugh of Fran Drescher or the voice of Spongebob.


11/15/2008 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That IS weird! I wonder how it varies between men and women. Many speech issues are more common in men, since women are smarter at talking.

11/15/2008 4:05 PM  
Blogger cube said...

Gosh, I can't remember what blog this is... is that blogagnosia?


11/15/2008 5:31 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

I just re-read the comment I left here. It didn't even make sense.

Phoenix, will you keep posting so I can make more non-sensical comments?

11/19/2008 1:30 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Sorry people...I am constantly on the road. When I get a moment, I promise, I will post.

11/19/2008 11:20 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Promises, promises.... they fall on deaf ears.


Safe travels.

11/19/2008 9:58 PM  

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