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Cross-modal processing of voices and faces in developmental prosopagnosia and developmental phonagnosia

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Maguinness,  Corrina
Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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von Kriegstein,  Katharina
Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Citation

Maguinness, C., & von Kriegstein, K. (2017). Cross-modal processing of voices and faces in developmental prosopagnosia and developmental phonagnosia. Visual Cognition, 25(4-6), 644-657. doi:10.1080/13506285.2017.1313347.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-58F1-4
Abstract
Conspecifics can be recognized from either the face or the voice alone. However, person identity information is rarely encountered in purely unimodal situations and there is increasing evidence that the face and voice interact in neurotypical identity processing. Conversely, developmental deficits have been observed that seem to be selective for face and voice recognition, developmental prosopagnosia and developmental phonagnosia, respectively. To date, studies on developmental prosopagnosia and phonagnosia have largely centred on within modality testing. Here, we review evidence from a small number of behavioural and neuroimaging studies which have examined the recognition of both faces and voices in these cohorts. A consensus from the findings is that, when tested in purely unimodal conditions, voice-identity processing appears normal in most cases of developmental prosopagnosia, as does face-identity processing in developmental phonagnosia. However, there is now first evidence that the multisensory nature of person identity impacts on identity recognition abilities in these cohorts. For example, unlike neurotypicals, auditory-only voice recognition is not enhanced in developmental prosopagnosia for voices which have been previously learned together with a face. This might also explain why the recognition of personally familiar voices is poorer in developmental prosopagnosics, compared to controls. In contrast, there is evidence that multisensory interactions might also lead to compensatory mechanisms in these disorders. For example, in developmental phonagnosia, voice recognition may be enhanced if voices have been learned with a corresponding face. Taken together, the reviewed findings challenge traditional models of person recognition which have assumed independence between face-identity and voice-identity processing and rather support an audio-visual model of human communication that assumes direction interactions between voice and face processing streams. In addition, the reviewed findings open up novel empirical research questions and have important implications for potential training regimes for developmental prosopagnosia and phonagnosia.