Tippett, Lynette J.; Miller, Laurie A.; Farah, Martha J.
Prosopamnesia: A selective impairment in face learning
Cognitive Neuropsychology 17. 1-3 (Feb-May 2000): 241-255


The structures required for new learning, and those required for the representation of what has been learned, are believed to be distinct. This counterintuitive division of labor when considered alongside the localized nature of knowledge representation for at least some stimulus domains, implies that circumscribed new learning impairments should occasionally be found as a result of disconnection between learning mechanisms and domain-specific representations. The authors describe a narrowly circumscribed new learning deficit consisting of a selective new learning impairment for faces, which they termed "prosopamnesia." A diagnosis of prosopamnesia requires preserved face perception, preserved memory for material other than faces, and preserved recognition of faces known premorbidly. The authors describe a 35 yr old male who meets these criteria, thus supporting the division of labor between neural systems for learning and neural systems for knowledge representation, as well as providing further support for segregated face representation in cortex.






Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles