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Joseph DeGutis, Sarah Cohan, David Alexander Kahn, Geoffrey K. Aguirre, Ken Nakayama; Facial expression training improves emotion recognition and changes neural tuning in a patient with acquired emotion recognition deficits and prosopagnosia. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):993. doi: 10.1167/13.9.993.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Studies suggest that face discrimination training can ameliorate face identification and emotion recognition deficits in developmental visual disorders (e.g., prosopagnosia and autism spectrum disorders). In contrast, face discrimination training has yet to produce improvements in those with acquired identity and emotion recognition deficits, possibly because of more compromised cognitive/neural infrastructure in these cases. We offered face discrimination training to patient CC who developed severe identity and emotion recognition deficits following resection of an astrocytoma within the right fusiform and superior temporal gyri. We separately performed face identity training (DeGutis et al, 2007) and expression training (Tanaka et al., 2010) over a 2-year period and collected fMRI data before and after each training session, functionally localizing left OFA, FFA, and STS regions and collecting a measure of holistic neural tuning for faces (Harris & Aguirre 2010). Our initial attempt at training, focused on identity, was ineffective: after 4 weeks/30 hours of training, CC showed no behavioral improvements in identity recognition. In contrast, 9 months later we performed 4 weeks/30 hours of expression training and found significant improvements on self-paced emotion recognition tests (which persisted for several months) but not on tests of speeded emotion recognition. Interestingly, neural adaptation measures of face processing in the left FFA indicated part-based tuning before, and holistic tuning after, both training sessions. Although the functional significance of these neural changes after identity training is unclear (it is possible that changes in left FFA tuning were sufficient for behavioral improvements in emotion but not identity), together these results suggest that training-induced neural changes are possible in a very compromised face processing system. In sum, we show training-related emotion recognition improvements in a patient with acquired emotion recognition deficits and suggest that these improvements may depend on slower to engage compensatory face processing mechanisms in the left hemisphere.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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