Prosopagnosia as an impairment to face-specific mechanisms: Elimination of the alternative hypotheses in a developmental case

Bradley C. Duchaine, Galit Yovel, Edward J. Butterworth, Ken Nakayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For more than 35 years, researchers have debated whether face recognition is carried out by face-specific mechanisms or whether it involves more general mechanisms that are also used for objects. Prosopagnosic patients have furnished powerful evidence for face-specific mechanisms. Yet for each case that has been tested there have always been several untested alternative explanations that could account for the case. As such, each of these individuals has not been sufficiently tested to provide conclusive evidence for face-specific processes. Here we make a stronger argument with a single case of severe developmental prosopagnosia by exhaustively addressing all extant alternatives. We reject each in turn and thus eliminate all alternative accounts. Because this case is developmental in etiology the results also indicate that face recognition involves developmental mechanisms different from those producing other visual recognition mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-747
Number of pages34
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

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