Impaired integration of emotional faces and affective body context in a rare case of developmental visual agnosia

Hillel Aviezer*, Ran R. Hassin, Shlomo Bentin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the current study we examined the recognition of facial expressions embedded in emotionally expressive bodies in case LG, an individual with a rare form of developmental visual agnosia (DVA) who suffers from severe prosopagnosia. Neuropsychological testing demonstrated that LG's agnosia is characterized by profoundly impaired visual integration. Unlike individuals with typical developmental prosopagnosia who display specific difficulties with face identity (but typically not expression) recognition, LG was also impaired at recognizing isolated facial expressions. By contrast, he successfully recognized the expressions portrayed by faceless emotional bodies handling affective paraphernalia. When presented with contextualized faces in emotional bodies his ability to detect the emotion expressed by a face did not improve even if it was embedded in an emotionally-congruent body context. Furthermore, in contrast to controls, LG displayed an abnormal pattern of contextual influence from emotionally-incongruent bodies. The results are interpreted in the context of a general integration deficit in DVA, suggesting that impaired integration may extend from the level of the face to the level of the full person.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalCortex
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by an NIMH grant R01 MH 64458-06 to Bentin, and an ISF grant 1035/07 to Hassin. We thank LG and his family for their cooperation and help.

Keywords

  • Body language
  • Developmental prosopagnosia
  • Developmental visual agnosia
  • Emotion recognition
  • Facial expressions
  • Perceptual integration

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