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Adélaïde de Heering, Daphne Maurer; The Prosopagnosic Profile of Patients Deprived of Early Vision by Bilateral Congenital Cataracts. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):487. doi: 10.1167/12.9.487.
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Previous studies indicate that patients treated for bilateral congenital cataract are later impaired in processing faces holistically (Le Grand et al., 2004) and in differentiating between faces based on the spacing between their internal features (Le Grand et al., 2001; Robbins et al., 2010). However, their face recognition abilities have never been tested formally. In this study, we compared 12 cataract-reversal patients to 24 age-matched controls with normal vision on their ability to recognize famous faces (Famous Face Task) and recently learned faces (Cambridge Face Memory Test). We also evaluated their subjective impression of their face memory (Prosopagnosic Questionnaire). Finally, we measured patients’ sensitivity to the composite illusion (Composite Face Task), their sensitivity to spacing between facial features (Monkey Jane Task), as well as their ability to match unfamiliar faces presented simultaneously and with a different point of view (Benton Face Recognition Test). Overall, bilateral congenital cataract patients demonstrated a prosopagnosic-like deficit, being significantly slower and less accurate than controls in recognizing both famous faces and recently learned faces. On most questions, they also did not differ from controls in their self-reported face memory. Finally, their results at the perceptual tasks and at the questionnaire were for the most not correlated to their face recognition deficits, indicating that these measures were not good predictors of their prosopagnosia. Thus, early visual input is necessary not only for perceptual expertise in differentiating among upright faces, but also for recognizing this face category with a normal level of expertise.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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