The effects of rotation and inversion on face processing in prosopagnosia

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Abstract or Description

The current study investigated the sensitivity of face recognition to two changes of the stimulus, a rotation in depth and an inversion, by comparing the performance of two prosopagnosic patients, RN and CR, with non-neurological control subjects on a face-matching task. The control subjects showed an effect of depth rotation, with errors and reaction times increasing systematically with rotation angle, and the traditional inversion effect, with errors and reaction times increasing under inverted conditions. In contrast, RN showed no effect of rotation or inversion on his error data but did show a less sensitively graded effect of rotation and the traditional inversion effect on reaction times. CR did not show a graded effect of rotation on his errors or reaction times. Although CR showed the traditional inversion effect on his error data, he displayed an inversion superiority effect on his reaction time data, which supports the claim that the damaged holistic processing systems continue to dominate face processing in prosopagnosia even though they are malfunctioning. These results suggest that the damage that occurs to the ventral temporal cortex in prosopagnosia may have forced the patients to rely on sources of information that are not dependent on the view of the face and, moreover, cannot be adapted to deal with rotated faces under both upright and inverted conditions.




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