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Holistic processing of the mouth but not the eyes in developmental prosopagnosia.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cognitive Neuropsychology
1464-0627
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Volume
29
Issue
5-6
Pages
419–446
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/02643294.2012.754745
PMID: 23428080
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Because holistic processing is a hallmark of normal face recognition, we ask whether such processing is reduced in developmental prosopagnosia (DP), and, if so, what the sources are of this deficit. Existing literature provides a mixed picture, with face inversion effects showing consistent holistic processing deficits but unable to locate their source and with some composite face studies showing reduced holistic processing and some not. We addressed this issue more thoroughly with a very large sample of DPs (N = 38) performing the part-whole task, a well-accepted measure of holistic processing that allows for the separate evaluation of individual face parts. Contrary to an expected overall reduction in holistic processing, we found an intact holistic advantage for the mouth and a complete absence of a holistic advantage for the eye region. Less severely impaired prosopagnosics showed significantly more holistic processing of the mouth, suggesting that holistic processing can aid them in recognizing faces.

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