3 years ago

Mapping the impairment in decoding static facial expressions of emotion in prosopagnosia.

Caldara R, Royer J, Fiset D, Richoz AR, Blais C, Dugas G
Acquired prosopagnosia is characterized by a deficit in identifying faces. The brain lesions leading to prosopagnosia are diverse. Interestingly, most prosopagnosic patients suffering from posterior lesions, use the mouth instead of the eyes for face identification. Whether this bias is present for facial expressions has not yet been addressed. We tested PS, a pure case of acquired prosopagnosia with bilateral occipitotemporal lesions anatomically sparing the regions dedicated for facial expression recognition. PS used mostly the mouth to recognize facial expressions even when eye area was the most diagnostic. Moreover, PS directed most of her fixations towards the mouth. Her impairment was still largely present when she was instructed to look at the eyes, or when she was forced to look at it. Control participants showed a performance comparable to PS when only the lower part of the face was available. These observations suggest that the deficits observed in PS with static images are not solely attentional, but are rooted at the level of facial information use. This study corroborates neuroimaging findings suggesting that the Occipital Face Area might play a critical role in extracting facial features that are integrated for both face identification and facial expression recognition in static images.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28459990

DOI: PubMed:28459990

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