Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Domain specificity in face perception

Kanwisher, N. (August 2000). Domain specificity in face perception. Nature Neuroscience, Volume 3, Number 8, 759-763.

The article explores the controversy over face perception in the fusiform gyrus. Is face perception carried out by domain-specific mechanisms specialized for processing faces in particular, or are faces handled by domain-general mechanisms? This article argues for the former alternative. It uses inversion, holistic recognition advantages, and a double-dissociation between face and object recognition found in the neuropsychological record (prosopagnosia patients who cannot recognize faces but who can recognize objects and C.K. who is impaired in reading and object recognition but whose facial recognition is preserved) as primary pieces of evidence. Counter-evidence and rebuttals are too complicated to get into in such a summary. However, the case seems far from closed.

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