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Structural Imaging Reveals Anatomical Alterations in Inferotemporal Cortex in Congenital Prosopagnosia

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2007, 00:00 by Marlene Behrmann, Galia Avidan, Fuqiang Gao, Sandra Black
Congenital prosopagnosia (CP) refers to the lifelong impairment in face recognition in individuals who have intact low-level visual processing, normal cognitive abilities, and no known neurological disorder. Although the face recognition impairment is profound and debilitating, its neural basis remains elusive. To investigate this, we conducted detailed morphometric and volumetric analyses of the occipitotemporal (OT) cortex in a group of CP individuals and matched control subjects using high-spatial resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Although there were no significant group differences in the depth or deviation from the midline of the OT or collateral sulci, the CP individuals evince a larger anterior and posterior middle temporal gyrus and a significantly smaller anterior fusiform (aF) gyrus. Interestingly, this volumetric reduction in the aF gyrus is correlated with the behavioral decrement in face recognition. These findings implicate a specific cortical structure as the neural basis of CP and, in light of the familial history of CP, target the aF gyrus as a potential site for further, focused genetic investigation.