Selective Dissociation Between Core and Extended Regions of the Face Processing Network in Congenital Prosopagnosia Academic Article uri icon


  • There is growing consensus that accurate and efficient face recognition is mediated by a neural circuit composed of a posterior "core" and an anterior "extended" set of regions. Here, we characterize the distributed face network in human individuals with congenital prosopagnosia (CP)-a lifelong impairment in face processing-relative to that of matched controls. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we first uncover largely normal activation patterns in the posterior core face patches in CP. We also document normal activity of the amygdala (emotion processing) as well as normal or even enhanced functional connectivity between the amygdala and the core regions. Critically, in the same individuals, activation of the anterior temporal cortex (identity processing) is reduced and connectivity between this region and the posterior core regions is disrupted. The dissociation between the neural profiles of the anterior temporal lobe and amygdala was evident both during a task-related face scan and during a resting state scan, in the absence of visual stimulation. Taken together, these findings elucidate selective disruptions in neural circuitry in CP and offer an explanation for the known differential difficulty in identity versus emotional expression recognition in many individuals with CP.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014