Functional plasticity in ventral temporal cortex following cognitive rehabilitation of a congenital prosopagnosic

J Cogn Neurosci. 2007 Nov;19(11):1790-802. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2007.19.11.1790.


We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure neural changes associated with training configural processing in congenital prosopagnosia, a condition in which face identification abilities are not properly developed in the absence of brain injury or visual problems. We designed a task that required discriminating faces by their spatial configuration and, after extensive training, prosopagnosic MZ significantly improved at face identification. Event-related potential results revealed that although the N170 was not selective for faces before training, its selectivity after training was normal. fMRI demonstrated increased functional connectivity between ventral occipital temporal face-selective regions (right occipital face area and right fusiform face area) that accompanied improvement in face recognition. Several other regions showed fMRI activity changes with training; the majority of these regions increased connectivity with face-selective regions. Together, the neural mechanisms associated with face recognition improvements involved strengthening early face-selective mechanisms and increased coordination between face-selective and nonselective regions, particularly in the right hemisphere.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Face
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Prosopagnosia / congenital
  • Prosopagnosia / physiopathology
  • Prosopagnosia / therapy*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology