No global processing deficit in the Navon task in 14 developmental prosopagnosics

Bradley Duchaine, Galit Yovel, Ken Nakayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Faces are represented in a more configural or holistic manner than other objects. Substantial evidence indicates that this representation results from face-specific mechanisms, but some have argued that it is produced by configural mechanisms that can be applied to many objects including words. The face-specific hypothesis predicts that non-face configural processes will often be normal in prosopagnosic subjects, whereas the domain-general configural hypothesis predicts they will be deficient on all configural tasks. Although the weight of the evidence favors the face-specific hypothesis, a recent study reopened this issue when it was found that three out of five developmental prosopagnosics showed a larger local processing bias than controls in a global-local task (i.e. a Navon task). To examine this issue more thoroughly we tested a significantly larger sample of prosopagnosics (14 participants) who had severe face memory and face perception deficits. In contrast to the previous report, the developmental prosopagnosics performed normally in the global-local task. Like controls, they showed a typical global advantage and typical global-to-local consistency effects. The results demonstrate that the configural processing required by the Navon task is dissociable from face configural processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Agnosia
  • Face perception
  • Face recognition
  • Object recognition


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