The extremes of face recognition: Prosopagnosia and super recognition

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Authors: Bate, S. and Murray, E.

Pages: 203-222

ISBN: 9781536123982

© 2017 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Individuals with atypical face recognition skills have been used for many years as a theoretical window into the face-processing system. Traditionally, researchers have examined people with acquired prosopagnosia, who have lost the ability to recognize faces following a neurological incident. While this disorder is rare, patterns of preserved and impaired skills have greatly informed models of face-processing. More recently there has been growing interest in people with the developmental form of prosopagnosia, who have had face recognition difficulties since early childhood. It is still unknown whether acquired and developmental prosopagnosia are truly parallel disorders, with some authors advocating that the latter may simply represent the bottom end of “normal.” This argument receives support from the discovery of so-called “super-recognizers”, who some claim are as good at face recognition as people with developmental prosopagnosia are bad. This chapter discusses prosopagnosia and super recognition in light of the key theoretical debates that surround extreme performance at different face recognition tasks.

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