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Cortex. 2006 Apr;42(3):332-5.

How Berlusconi keeps his face: a neuropsychological study in a case of semantic dementia.

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  • 1Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.


A patient (V.Z.) is described as being affected by progressive bilateral atrophy of the mesial temporal lobes resulting in semantic dementia. Vis-a-vis virtually nil recognition of even the most familiar faces (including those of her closest relatives) as well as of objects and animals, V.Z. could nevertheless consistently recognize and name the face of Silvio Berlusconi, the mass media tycoon and current Italian Prime Minister. The experimental investigation led to the conclusion that Mr Berlusconi's face was seen as an icon rather than as a face. This telling effect of Mr Berlusconi's pervasive propaganda constitutes an unprecedented case in the neuropsychological literature.

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