Brain potentials reveal covert facial recognition in prosopagnosia

Neuropsychologia. 1989;27(7):905-12. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(89)90066-3.


Brain potentials were recorded in a prosopagnosic patient, in response to familiar and unfamiliar faces he was asked to recognize. The amplitude of the P300 component was found to be an inverse function of probability for each category of faces despite the patient's inability to consciously recognize the familiarity of these faces. In addition, P300 latency varied from 700 to 800 msec according to the familiarity of the faces, and P300 scalp location was different as a function of faces probability and overt recognition. The results imply that covert facial recognition may be evidenced in using event-related potentials of the brain. They also demonstrate that automatic and covert processing of face familiarity are preserved, but prolonged in this patient.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agnosia / physiopathology*
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Face
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology