Impairments of biological motion perception in congenital prosopagnosia

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Prosopagnosia is a deficit in recognizing people from their faces. Acquired prosopagnosia results after brain damage, developmental or congenital prosopagnosia (CP) is not caused by brain lesion, but has presumably been present from early childhood onwards. Since other sensory, perceptual, and cognitive abilities are largely spared, CP is considered to be a stimulus-specific deficit, limited to face processing. Given that recent behavioral and imaging studies indicate a close relationship of face and biological-motion perception in healthy adults, we hypothesized that biological motion processing should be impaired in CP. Five individuals with CP and ten matched healthy controls were tested with diverse biological-motion stimuli and tasks. Four of the CP individuals showed severe deficits in biological-motion processing, while one performed within the lower range of the controls. A discriminant analysis classified all participants correctly with a very high probability for each participant. These findings demonstrate that in CP, impaired perception of faces can be accompanied by impaired biological-motion perception. We discuss implications for dedicated and shared mechanisms involved in the perception of faces and biological motion.




Lange, J., de Lussanet, M., Kuhlmann, S., Zimmermann, A., Lappe, M., Zwitserlood, P., & Dobel, C. (2009). Impairments of biological motion perception in congenital prosopagnosia. PLoS ONE, 4(10).

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