A case of a 37-year-old patient, 10 years after bilateral amygdalotomy and subcaudate tractotomy for chronic self-mutilation, is described. The clinical picture revealed a complex mental state, including disorders of facial recognition, social behaviour, affect and elements of the Kluver-Bucy syndrome. Mild selective deficits were demonstrated psychometrically in the recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Certain features have been described in rhesus monkeys, but have not previously been reported in humans. Primate studies are discussed, with particular reference to the role of the amygdala in facial recognition.