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Training face perception in developmental prosopagnosia through perceptual learning
Neuropsychologia, Volume: 134, Start page: 107196
Swansea University Author: Jodie Davies-Thompson
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Background: Recent work has shown that perceptual learning can improve face discrimination in subjects with acquired prosopagnosia. Objective: In this study, we administered the same program to determine if such training would improve face perception in developmental prosopagnosia.Method: We trained...
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Background: Recent work has shown that perceptual learning can improve face discrimination in subjects with acquired prosopagnosia. Objective: In this study, we administered the same program to determine if such training would improve face perception in developmental prosopagnosia.Method: We trained ten subjects with developmental prosopagnosia for several months with a program that required shape discrimination between morphed facial images, using a staircase procedure to keep training near each subject’s perceptual threshold. To promote ecological validity, training progressed from blocks of neutral faces in frontal view through increasing variations in view and expression. Five subjects did 11 weeks of a control television task before training, and the other five were re-assessed for maintenance of benefit 3 months after training. Results: Perceptual sensitivity for faces improved after training but did not improve after the control task. Improvement generalized to untrained expressions and views of these faces, and there was some evidence of transfer to new faces. Benefits were maintained over three months. Training also led to improvements on standard neuropsychological tests of short-term familiarity, and some subjects reported positive effects in daily life.Conclusion: We conclude that perceptual learning can lead to persistent improvements in face discrimination in developmental prosopagnosia. The strong generalization suggests that learning is occurring at the level of three-dimensional representations with some invariance for the dynamic effects of expression.
Face recognition, Vision, Development, Rehabilitation