Dissociation of local and global processing in visual agnosia

Vision Res. 1994 Apr;34(7):963-71. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(94)90045-0.


Subsequent to strokes in the right and left inferomedial occipito-temporal lobes, two patients became prosopagnosic and alexic, respectively. They also show a complementary dissociation of the analysis of handwritten text. The patient with the right posterior stroke can read it but not recognize whose handwriting it is; the patient with the left posterior stroke cannot read the text but knows who wrote it. The analysis of spatial vision revealed that the prosopagnosic patient has no problem with seeing texture elements when presented in isolation. Yet she performs poorly with Moiré and texture perception, i.e. she suffers from a selective loss of global visual perception. The alexic patient performs well with Moiré patterns but neither with (complex) texture elements nor with textures. She seemingly can locally and globally process patterns composed of simple figural elements but fails with stimuli that require the integration of features. This finding of a concomitant dissociation of local and global visual processes in the two patients supports the view that prosopagnosia as well as alexia are the most conspicuous aspects of more general alterations of visual perception.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Agnosia / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Dyslexia, Acquired / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*