Prosopagnosia came from the Greek words prosopon and agnosia. The former means “face” while the later translates to “lack of knowledge”. Hence, prosopagnosia is a disorder that involves the inability to discern faces. The specific part of the brain related to problems in face perception is the fusiform gyrus. It is the particular anatomy that gets activated when recognizing appearances. In this paper, we shall determine the congenital aspects of prosopagnosia, presence of covert recognition among the patients and whether the condition leads to loss of recognition of bodies on top of faces. Bate, Haslam, Tree, & Hodgson (2007) sought to find out more about the disorder in its congenital aspect. The researchers specifically wanted to know whether eye-movement based memory, effect could stipulate evidence in congenital prosopagnosia. The behavioural indicator is a reprocessing result in face recognition. This means that when viewing a familiar object, the eye fixates less. The eye’s appraisals also occur in fewer areas. Formerly, prosopagnosia was commonly regarded as quite rare. However, recent experts have asserted that some are born with this impairment, thus, the term congenital prosopagnosia. This spectrum is characterized by having difficulties in perceiving not only faces but objects and visual scenes as well. It is also believed that there is a chance of covert recognition among prosopagnosia patients. This could be determined through the use of tests that involve the use of Skin Conductance Response (SCR) (Bate, 2012). According to Righart and de Gelder (2007), prosopagnosia can lead to a person’s inability to recognize the body of another person. Contrary to the earlier belief that it only affected face recognition, Righart and de Gelder (2007) believed that there was a high probability of prosopagnosia failing to recognise bodies as well. Brain scanning techniques have shown certain brain areas that are activated when the individual tries to recognize faces and objects. Currently, cutting edge technology has made it possible to assess parts in the brain when recognizing bodies.
The methodology involved several experiments. Nineteen participants in the experiment had normal vision acuities. They were made to view 40 different stimuli on the screen. Each face was presented for 5 seconds. Half of the materials were familiar. If a participant would perceive the stimulus as “known”, he would press the right button and the left if it were otherwise. Their respective reaction times were then recorded. The respondents’ retinal focus were assessed and calibrated.
The other experiment aimed to see whether the reprocessing effect in the preceding experiment would appear in the congenital prosopagnosia spectrum. The respondent was a male physics teacher. Since childhood, he had difficulties in identifying faces and is presently having trouble in recognizing his children’s early years’ photos. In addition to the procedure done in the initial experiment, a confidence rating regarding the respondent’s answers were employed.
Further, replicated methods were used where 15 photos of famous people along with another 30 unknown people were taken from the internet. The famous faces were determined, following the findings of a previous pilot study where 20 adults had been asked to rate how familiar some faces were on a scale of 1-5. Novel faces were matched to each other and were well displayed on a white background. The photos were also adjusted to 650 pixels and 500 pixels in height and length respectively (Bate, 2012). During the experiment, participants were required to sit in a quiet room, 60 cm away from the screen. A SCR unit was connected using two sensors that were attached to the palmar surface of the non-dominant hand of the participant. The faces (45) were then passed in front of the participant in a random order with each image being displayed for 2 seconds and 25 seconds breaks after every image. The results were then shown later and the patient asked to determine whether the faces were familiar to them in a scale of 1-6.
The final experiment required four participants. Their particular phases of perception were evaluated and recorded. Firstly, how the respondents detected objects, faces, and bodies in the initial stage was substantiated. This was done by judging various kinds of incident-related possibilities to standardized and disorganized pictures. Three among the four individuals with developmental prosopagnosia had results that signified incorrect stimuli configuration. The specific organization that they had trouble recognizing was in the normal inversion and paradoxical inversion. The means were significantly different at 0.01.
The results to determine the retinal focus of the 19 participants indicated that the participants accurately identified the stimuli. Their reaction times generated an F (1, 17 = 13.041) value which was significant at 0.002. The results showed that all of the unfamiliar faces were correctly identified. However, only 85% of the “known” photos were appropriately recognized. The rates of his confidence level regarding his responses were slightly higher for unfamiliar stimuli at 3.2 out of 5. There was a significant difference in his reaction time at 0.001 with the F tabulated value 12. 702 (1, 35). His reactions were faster when it comes to unfamiliar faces. The experiments then conclude that congenital prosopagnosia may be evaluated using behavioural indicators.
The results in the other experiment showed that there was a mean rise in the SCR for the control samples for the famous faces at 0.31 than for the novella faces at 0.19 (Bate, 2012). This meant that the control participants did not recognise celebrities covertly. There was also no significant correlation between SCR and how pleasant any of the controls looked. However, there was a high correlation between the SCR of the famous and novel faces to the patient.
The outcomes of the final experiment implied that prosopagnosia may entail inability to distinguish not only faces but bodies as well. The extreme impairment of developmental prosopagnosia does not always insinuate that the inability solely applies to facial recognition. The brain’s procedures in configuring data may pose deeper explanations. Face-body constitution is crucial in visual skills. An anomaly in any stage of the process will lead to a negative domino effect to the progression of one’s acuity.
The above experiments pursued to validate different matters regarding prosopagnosia where all of them yielded positive results. The first two experiments considerably concluded that behavioural indicators such as eye movement may be utilized to further evaluate congenital prosopagnosia. The other experiment notably established that the failure to identify stimuli is affected by the inability to configure bodies and faces. The methodologies may, however, be improved by including more participants. It may also be recommended that the participants’ reactions to stimuli will be tested using different kinds of materials. From the final study, it could be deduced that covert recognition of faces is present in the case of the prosopagnosia patients (Bate, 2012). There was a higher affective dimension to this issue than a dimension of familiarity. This fits well in the recent neurophysiological findings that supported the presence of independent processing of cognitive and affective information.