In what sense 'familiar'? Examining experiential differences within pathologies of facial recognition

Consciousness and Cognition 18 (3):628-638 (2009)
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Explanations of Capgras delusion and prosopagnosia typically incorporate a dual-route approach to facial recognition in which a deficit in overt or covert processing in one condition is mirror-reversed in the other. Despite this double dissociation, experiences of either patient-group are often reported in the same way – as lacking a sense of familiarity toward familiar faces. In this paper, deficits in the facial processing of these patients are compared to other facial recognition pathologies, and their experiential characteristics mapped onto the dual-route model in order to provide a less ambiguous link between facial processing and experiential content. The paper concludes that the experiential states of Capgras delusion, prosopagnosia, and related facial pathologies are quite distinct, and that this descriptive distinctiveness finds explanatory equivalence at the level of anatomical and functional disruption within the face recognition system. The role of skin conductance response as a measure of ‘familiarity’ is also clarified



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Garry Young
University of Melbourne

References found in this work

Recognizing: The judgment of previous occurrence.George Mandler - 1980 - Psychological Review 87 (3):252-271.
Parts and wholes in face recognition.J. W. Tanaka & M. J. Farah - 1991 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 29 (6):520-520.
Rationality, meaning, and the analysis of delusion.John Campbell - 2001 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 8 (2-3):89-100.

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