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Eye-movement strategies in developmental prosopagnosia and "super" face recognition

Eye-movement strategies in developmental prosopagnosia and "super" face recognition

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 70(2): 201-217

Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is a cognitive condition characterized by a severe deficit in face recognition. Few investigations have examined whether impairments at the early stages of processing may underpin the condition, and it is also unknown whether DP is simply the "bottom end" of the typical face-processing spectrum. To address these issues, we monitored the eye-movements of DPs, typical perceivers, and "super recognizers" (SRs) while they viewed a set of static images displaying people engaged in naturalistic social scenarios. Three key findings emerged: (a) Individuals with more severe prosopagnosia spent less time examining the internal facial region, (b) as observed in acquired prosopagnosia, some DPs spent less time examining the eyes and more time examining the mouth than controls, and (c) SRs spent more time examining the nose-a measure that also correlated with face recognition ability in controls. These findings support previous suggestions that DP is a heterogeneous condition, but suggest that at least the most severe cases represent a group of individuals that qualitatively differ from the typical population. While SRs seem to merely be those at the "top end" of normal, this work identifies the nose as a critical region for successful face recognition.

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Accession: 057851537

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26933872

DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1161059

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