The man who mistook his neuropsychologist for a pop star: when configural processing fails in acquired prosopagnosia

Jansari, Ashok S.; Miller, S; Pearce, L; Cobb, S; Tree, J and Hanley, R. 2015. The man who mistook his neuropsychologist for a pop star: when configural processing fails in acquired prosopagnosia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 9(390), ISSN 1747-0218 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We report the case of an individual with acquired prosopagnosia who experiences extreme difficulties in recognizing familiar faces in everyday life despite excellent object recognition skills. Formal testing indicates that he is also severely impaired at remembering pre-experimentally unfamiliar faces and that he takes an extremely long time to identify famous faces and to match unfamiliar faces. Nevertheless, he performs as accurately and quickly as controls at identifying inverted familiar and unfamiliar faces and can recognize famous faces from their external features. He also performs as accurately as controls at recognizing famous faces when fracturing conceals the configural information in the face. He shows evidence of impaired global processing but normal local processing of Navon figures. This case appears to reflect the clearest example yet of an acquired prosopagnosic patient whose familiar face recognition deficit is caused by a severe configural processing deficit in the absence of any problems in featural processing. These preserved featural skills together with apparently intact visual imagery for faces allow him to identify a surprisingly large number of famous faces when unlimited time is available. The theoretical implications of this pattern of performance for understanding the nature of acquired prosopagnosia are discussed.

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17 July 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

22 Jul 2015 09:00

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:43

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