Aberrant pattern of scanning in prosopagnosia reflects impaired face processing
ABSTRACT Visual scanpath recording was used to investigate the information processing strategies used by a prosopagnosic patient, SC, when viewing faces. Compared to controls, SC showed an aberrant pattern of scanning, directing attention away from the internal configuration of facial features (eyes, nose) towards peripheral regions (hair, forehead) of the face. The results suggest that SC's face recognition deficit can be linked to an inability to assemble an accurate and unified face percept due to an abnormal allocation of attention away from the internal face region. Extraction of stimulus attributes necessary for face identity recognition is compromised by an aberrant face scanning pattern.
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ABSTRACT: A useful framework for understanding the mental representation of facial identity is face-space (Valentine, 1991), a multi-dimensional cognitive map in which individual faces are coded relative to the average of previously encountered faces, and in which the distance among faces represents their perceived similarity. We examined whether individuals with prosopagnosia, a disorder characterized by an inability to recognize familiar faces despite normal visual acuity and intellectual abilities, evince behavior consistent with this underlying representational schema. To do so, we compared the performance of 6 individuals with congenital prosopagnosia (CP), with a group of age- and gender-matched control participants in a series of experiments involving judgments of facial identity. We used digital images of male and female faces and morphed them to varying degrees relative to an average face, to create caricatures, anti-caricatures, and anti-faces (i.e. faces of the opposite identity). Across 5 behavioral tasks, CP individuals' performance was similar to that of the control group and consistent with the face-space framework. As a test of the sensitivity of our measures in revealing face processing abnormalities, we also tested a single acquired prosopagnosic (AP) individual, whose performance on the same tasks deviated significantly from the control and CP groups. The findings suggest that, despite an inability to recognize individual identities, CPs perceive faces in a manner consistent with norm-based coding of facial identity, although their representation is likely supported by a feature-based strategy. We suggest that the apparently normal posterior cortical regions, including the fusiform face area, serve as the neural substrate for at least a coarse, feature-based face-space map in CP and that their face recognition impairment arises from the disconnection between these regions and more anterior cortical sites.Neuropsychologia 03/2010; 48(6):1828-41. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.03.007 · 3.45 Impact Factor
- Brain and Cognition 04/2010; 72(3):499-500. DOI:10.1016/j.bandc.2009.12.005 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Results of several investigations indicate that eye movements can reveal memory for elements of previous experience. These effects of memory on eye movement behavior can emerge very rapidly, changing the efficiency and even the nature of visual processing without appealing to verbal reports and without requiring conscious recollection. This aspect of eye movement based memory investigations is particularly useful when eye movement methods are used with special populations (e.g., young children, elderly individuals, and patients with severe amnesia), and also permits use of comparable paradigms in animals and humans, helping to bridge different memory literatures and permitting cross-species generalizations. Unique characteristics of eye movement methods have produced findings that challenge long-held views about the nature of memory, its organization in the brain, and its failures in special populations. Recently, eye movement methods have been successfully combined with neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI, single-unit recording, and magnetoencephalography, permitting more sophisticated investigations of memory. Ultimately, combined use of eye-tracking with neuropsychological and neuroimaging methods promises to provide a more comprehensive account of brain-behavior relationships and adheres to the "converging evidence" approach to cognitive neuroscience.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10/2010; 4:166. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2010.00166 · 2.90 Impact Factor