Intact word processing in developmental prospagnosia

Authors Organisations
  • Edwin Burns(Author)
    Nanyang Technological University
  • Rachel Bennetts(Author)
    Bournemouth University
  • Sarah Bate(Author)
    Bournemouth University
  • Victoria Wright(Author)
  • Christoph Weidemann(Author)
    Prifysgol Abertawe | Swansea University
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Jeremy Tree(Author)
    Prifysgol Abertawe | Swansea University
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number1683
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2017
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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.


  • prosopagnosia, word recognition, neuropsychology