Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 203–257 | Cite as

Can we learn from the clinically significant face processing deficits, prosopagnosia and capgras delusion?

  • Elaine Wacholtz


This review describes two clinically significant face processing deficits, prosopagnosia and Capgras delusion, and provides new knowledge about the face recognition process by a convergence of empirical findings. These empirical findings are structured around two questions that are viewed from the perspectives of the two deficits. First is the question of hemispheric specificity, which inquires into the degree of each hemisphere's contribution to the face recognition process. Second is the question of dual neural pathways, which addresses the possibility that the face recognition process proceeds along two parallel pathways in the brain. Findings from the hemispheric specificity studies reinforce the current view that right hemisphere involvement is necessary for face recognition while left hemisphere involvement is minimal. Findings from the dual neural pathways studies reinforce the plausible but yet unproven hypothesis that two neural pathways pass information from the visual association cortex in the occipital lobe toward the temporal lobes and limbic system when faces are seen and recognized. These findings, which also indicate that each of the dual neural pathways carries different, nonredundant information, could be instrumental in showing that the pathways play different roles in the manifestations of the clinically significant face processing deficits, prosopagnosia and Capgras delusion.

Key words

prosopagnosia Capgras delusion face recognition dual neural pathway hemispheric specificity 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine Wacholtz
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human DevelopmentUniversity of Texas at DallasDallas

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