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· Inability to recognise and detect familiar faces
despite having intact intellectual and visual
· It is a failure to associate visual stimuli to
· There are two types of prosopagnosia:
· Face specific problem
· Non- face specific problem…read more

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Explanations to prosopagnosia:
Face specific problem
· Faces alone cannot be recognised.
· Barton et al (2002) the fusiform face area (FFA) is
damaged in people with prosopagnosia it shows that
the FFA is a mechanism specific to face recognition
· Farah and Aguiaa (1999) in pet scans and fMRI show
that the FFA is normally active when recognising faces
but in people with prosopagnosia it is less active.
· Bruce and Youngs study involving 34 ex-servicemen
who'd received head wounds. The men had difficulties
in matching faces or decipher facial expression which
suggests the there are independent routes involved in
face recognition.…read more

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Explanations to prosopagnosia:
non-face specific
· FFA is involved in face and object recognition
· Gauthier et al (1999) Brain scans show the FFA is
active during object recognition as well as face
· Face recognition and object recognition are
holistic processes meaning that the recognition is
based on the overall structure of the face rather
than individuals features.
· The predicts people with prosopagnosia would
also had trouble with object recognition as well as
face.…read more

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Methological issues
· Small samples- much research is done on case studies
or small groups so the results are not gerneralisable to
the wider population as they may be influenced by
demand characteristics.
· Area bias- majority of research is done on western
cultures which means the results cannot be applied to
other cultures. Blais (2010) showed different
ethnicities examine faces differently and therefore the
results cannot be applied without caution.
· Peer review- objective tests have been used, such as
brain and fMRI scans, which allows the reults to be
peer reiviewed…read more

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· Barton (2002)-Five individuals with brain damage to FFA had
to discriminate between faces that had been slightly
configured. 4/5 performed badly and the 5th performed
· This suggests the ability to perceived configuration is
impaired due to the damage to the FFA and therefore
supports the explanation of visual recognition being a
specific process. The ability to perceive changes to facial
configuration may contribute to failure to recognise faces.
· Artificial stimuli used which are not used in everyday
situations and therefore the results cannot be generalised as
the test has low ecological vailidity.
· Practical implications can be gained from this study such as
encouraging people with prosopagnosia to focus on
individual features rather than
· This study shows FFA is linked to facial recognition but does
not prove face recognition is a separate process as it does
not consider the effects on object recognition…read more

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