August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
A dissociation between face perception and face memory in adults, but not children, with developmental prosopagnosia
Author Affiliations
  • Kirsten Dalrymple
    Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
  • Brad Duchaine
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 1434. doi:
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      Kirsten Dalrymple, Brad Duchaine; A dissociation between face perception and face memory in adults, but not children, with developmental prosopagnosia . Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1434.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Prosopagnosia is defined by severely impaired face recognition. Cognitive models of face recognition propose that it is accomplished through a series of discrete stages of processing. For example, Bruce and Young's (1986) influential model hypothesizes a separation between structural encoding of a face and face recognition units, which interact to encode new faces, or to retrieve memories of previously viewed faces. This division suggests that impaired face recognition can result from failures of face perception, face memory, or both. Evidence from individuals with acquired prosopagnosia supports the idea that face perception and face memory are dissociable, with perceptual deficits resulting from occipito-temporal lesions, and memory deficits resulting from more anterior lesions (Barton, 2003; Barton, 2008; Damasio et al., 1990). Developmentally, the early maturation of face perception and relatively protracted development of face memory in typically developing children points to the same dissociation (Weigelt et al., 2013). Despite the fundamental nature of this distinction, this potential dissociation has received little attention in the context of developmental prosopagnosia (DP) (Bowles et al., 2009; Stollhoff et al., 2011). To address this issue, we tested the face perception and face memory of children and adults with DP. We found that all children were impaired with face perception and face memory. In contrast, half of the adults scored normally for face perception. Thus results from adults indicate that face perception and face memory are indeed dissociable, while the results from children provide no evidence for this division. Given these findings we consider the possibility that DP is qualitatively different in childhood versus adulthood. We also consider alternative explanations, such as individual differences in perceptual strategies, but ultimately suggest that this topic warrants further investigation.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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