Intact word processing in developmental prosopagnosia

Edwin J Burns, Rachel J Bennetts, Sarah Bate, Victoria C Wright, Christoph T Weidemann, Jeremy J Tree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


A wealth of evidence from behavioural, neuropsychological and neuroimaging research supports the view that face recognition is reliant upon a domain-specific network that does not process words. In contrast, the recent many-to-many model of visual recognition posits that brain areas involved in word and face recognition are functionally integrated. Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is characterised by severe deficits in the recognition of faces, which the many-to-many model predicts should negatively affect word recognition. Alternatively, domain-specific accounts suggest that impairments in face and word processing need not go hand in hand. To test these possibilities, we ran a battery of 7 tasks examining word processing in a group of DP cases and controls. One of our prosopagnosia cases exhibited a severe reading impairment with delayed response times during reading aloud tasks, but not lexical decision tasks. Overall, however, we found no evidence of global word processing deficits in DP, consistent with a dissociation account for face and word processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1683
Pages (from-to)1683
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linguistics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prosopagnosia/physiopathology
  • Reading
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult


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