What Is Agnosia?

By jolene
Feb 5, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Agnosia is a term used to refer to the inability to process sensory information such as recognizing shapes, objects, sounds, people, or smells. It is a rare disorder where the affected individual is still able to speak, think, and interact with their environment. Agnosia tends to affect only one modality such as hearing or vision.

When agnosia affects the ability to recognize the geometric features of a face or object, the features are perceived but not recognized. For example, the affected person may have difficulty identifying a cup or the sound of a cough. There are many different types of agnosia such as akinetopsia, anosognosia, allotopagnosia, apperceptive visual agnosia, astereognosis, associative visual agnosia, cortical deafness, environmental agnosia, autotopagnosia, and more.

1. Visual Agnosia

Visual agnosia can be divided into two subtypes: apperceptive visual agnosia (difficulty with relationship between objects) and associative visual agnosia (inability to recall information associated with an object). These two subtypes can be further divided into prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces), achromatopsia (loss of color vision), akinetopsia (inability to perceive motion), and agnosia alexia (inability to recognize words/read). In patients with severe apperceptive visual agnosia, there may be residual visual defects due to the presence of diffuse and extensive occipital lesions.


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