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Cogn Neuropsychol. 2012;29(4):325-47. doi: 10.1080/02643294.2012.749223.

Acquired prosopagnosia with spared within-class object recognition but impaired recognition of degraded basic-level objects.

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Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London, London, UK.


We present a new case of acquired prosopagnosia resulting from extensive lesions predominantly in the right occipitotemporal cortex. Functional brain imaging revealed atypical activation of all core face areas in the right hemisphere, with reduced signal difference between faces and objects compared to controls. In contrast, Herschel's lateral occipital complex showed normal activation to objects. Behaviourally, Herschel is severely impaired with the recognition of familiar faces, discrimination between unfamiliar identities, and the perception of facial expression and gender. Notably, his visual recognition deficits are largely restricted to faces, suggesting that the damaged mechanisms are face-specific. He showed normal recognition memory for a wide variety of object classes in several paradigms, normal ability to discriminate between highly similar items within a novel object category, and intact ability to name basic objects (except four-legged animals). Furthermore, Herschel displayed a normal face composite effect and typical global advantage and global interference effects in the Navon task, suggesting spared integration of both face and nonface information. Nevertheless, he failed visual closure tests requiring recognition of basic objects from degraded images. This abnormality in basic object recognition is at odds with his spared within-class recognition and presents a challenge to hierarchical models of object perception.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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