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Face Perception and Test Reliabilities in Congenital Prosopagnosia in Seven Tests

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Esins,  J
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Schultz,  J
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  I
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Project group: Recognition & Categorization, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Esins, J., Schultz, J., Stemper, C., Kennerknecht, I., & Bülthoff, I. (2016). Face Perception and Test Reliabilities in Congenital Prosopagnosia in Seven Tests. i-Perception, 7(1), 1-37. doi:10.1177/2041669515625797.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-7A40-F
Abstract
Congenital prosopagnosia, the innate impairment in recognizing faces, is a very heterogeneous disorder with different phenotypical manifestations. To investigate the nature of prosopagnosia in more detail, we tested 16 prosopagnosics and 21 controls with an extended test battery addressing various aspects of face recognition. Our results show that prosopagnosics exhibited significant impairments in several face recognition tasks: impaired holistic processing (they were tested amongst others with the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT)) as well as reduced processing of configural information of faces. This test battery also revealed some new findings. While controls recognized moving faces better than static faces, prosopagnosics did not exhibit this effect. Furthermore, prosopagnosics had significantly impaired gender recognition—which is shown on a groupwise level for the first time in our study. There was no difference between groups in the automatic extraction of face identity information or in object recognition as tested with the Cambridge Car Memory Test. In addition, a methodological analysis of the tests revealed reduced reliability for holistic face processing tests in prosopagnosics. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that prosopagnosics showed a significantly reduced reliability coefficient (Cronbach’s alpha) in the CFMT compared to the controls. We suggest that compensatory strategies employed by the prosopagnosics might be the cause for the vast variety of response patterns revealed by the reduced test reliability. This finding raises the question whether classical face tests measure the same perceptual processes in controls and prosopagnosics.