Evidence for a Classical Dissociation between Face and Object Recognition in Developmental Prosopagnosia

Christian Gerlach*, Randi Starrfelt

*Corresponding author for this work

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It is still a matter of debate whether developmental prosopagnosia is a disorder selective to faces or whether object recognition is also affected. In a previous study, based on a small sample of developmental prosopagnosics (DPs; N = 10), we found impairments in both domains although the difficulties were most pronounced for faces. Importantly, impairments with faces and objects were systematically related. We suggested that that the seemingly disproportional impairment for faces in DP was likely to reflect differences between stimulus categories in visual similarity. Here, we aimed to replicate these findings in a larger, independent sample of DPs (N = 21) using the same experimental paradigms. Contrary to our previous results, we found no disproportional effect of visual similarity on performance with faces or objects in the new DP group when compared to controls (N = 21). The new DP group performed within the control range, and significantly better than the old DP-group, on sensitive and demanding object recognition tasks, and we can demonstrate a classical dissociation between face and object recognition at the group level. These findings are perhaps the strongest evidence yet presented for a face-specific deficit in developmental prosopagnosia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • developmental prosopagnosia
  • dissociation
  • object recognition
  • selectivity
  • visual similarity


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