Advertisement

Left Hemifield Superiority and the Extraction of Physiognomic Information

  • Paul Bertelson
  • Hélène Vanhaelen
  • José Morais
Chapter

Abstract

Data have accumulated in recent years which strongly suggest that the process of identifying human faces is critically dependent on functions for which the minor cerebral hemisphere is specialised. The notion is, in fact, supported by the now familiar pattern of neuropsychological evidence for hemispheric specialisation, which consists of (a) the existence of a specific pathological syndrome, (b) a correlation in brain-damaged patients between measures of the relevant capacity and side of injury, and (c) a perceptual asymmetry demonstrable in normal subjects. In the present case the syndrome is prosopagnosia, a rare condition involving the specific loss of the ability to recognise people from their faces, which is found mainly in patients with damage to the right hemisphere (Bodamer, 1947; Hecaen and Angelergues, 1962; Rondot and Tzavaras, 1969), although some lesion in a so-far unspecified region of the left hemisphere may also be necessary (Meadows, 1974).

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Benton, A. L. and van Allen, M. W. (1968). Impairment in facial recognition in patients with cerebral disease. Cortex, 4, 344–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berlucchi, G., Marzi, C. A., Rizzolatti, G. and Umiltà, C. (1976). Functional hemisphere asymmetries in normals: influence of sex and practice. Paper at 21st Int. Cong. Psychology, ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Bodamer, J. (1947). Die Prosop-Agnosie, Archs Psychiat., 179 (6), 1Google Scholar
  4. De Renzi, E., Faglioni, P. and Spinnler, H. (1968). The performance of patients with unilateral brain damage on face recognition tasks. Cortex, 4, 17–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Geffen, G., Bradshaw, J. L. and Wallace, G. (1971). Interhemispheric effects on reac-tion time to verbal and nonverbal visual stimuli. J. exp. Psychol., 87, 415–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gibson, E. J. (1969). Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, pp. 105–107Google Scholar
  7. Gilbert, C. A. and Bakan, P. (1973). Visual asymmetry in perception of faces. Neuropsychologia, 11, 355–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hecaen, H. and Angelergues, R. (1962). Agnosia for faces (prosopagnosia). Archs Neurol., 7, 92–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hilliard, R. D. (1973). Hemispheric laterality effects on a facial recognition task in normal subjects. Cortex, 9, 246–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hochberg, J. (1972). The representation of things and people. In Art, Perception and Reality (E. H. Gombrich, J. Hochberg and M. Black, eds.), Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp. 47–96Google Scholar
  11. Klein, D., Moscovitch, M. and Vigna, C. (1976). Attentional mechanisms and perceptual asymmetries in tachistoscopic recognition of words and faces. Neuropsychologia, 14, 55–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marcel, T. and Rajan, P. (1975). Lateral specialisation for recognition of words and faces in good and poor readers. Neuropsychology, 13, 489–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Meadows, J. C. (1974). The anatomical basis of prosopagnosia. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 37, 489–501PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Milner, B. (1968). Visual recognition and recall after right temporal-lobe excision in man. Neuro psychologia, 6, 191–209Google Scholar
  15. Morais, J. and Darwin, C. J. (1974). Ear differences for same-different reaction times to monaurally presented speech. Brain Lang., 1, 383–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Moscovitch, M., Scullion, D. and Christie, D. (1976). Early vs late stages of processing and their relation to functional hemispheric asymmetries in face recognition. J. exp. Psychol.: Hum. Perc. Perform., 2, 401–16Google Scholar
  17. Patterson, K. and Bradshaw, J. L. (1975). Differential hemispheric mediation of non-verbal visual stimuli. J. exp. Psychol.: Hum. Perc. Perform., 1, 246–52Google Scholar
  18. Rizzolatti, G. and Buchtel, H. A. (1977). Hemispheric superiority in reaction time to faces: a sex difference. Cortex, 13, 300–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rizzolatti, G., Umiltà, C. and Berlucchi, G. (1971). Opposite superiorities of the right and left cerebral hemispheres in discriminative reaction time to physiog-nomical and alphabetical material. Brain, 94, 431–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rondot, P. and Tzavaras, A. (1969). La prosopagnosie après vingt années d’études cliniques et neuropsychologiques. J. Psychol. Norm. Pathol., 9, 133–65Google Scholar
  21. Teuber, H. L. (1974). Why two brains? In The Neurosciences, 3rd Study Program (F. O. Schmitt and F. G. Worden, eds.) M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  22. Tzavaras, A., Hecaen, H. and Le Bras, H. (1970). Le problème de la spécificité du déficit de la reconnaissance du visage humain lors des lésions hémisphériques unilatérales. Neuropsychologia, 8, 403–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Warrington, E. K. and James, M. (1967). An experimental investigation of facial recognition in patients with unilateral cerebral lesions. Cortex, 3, 317–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wolff, W. (1933). The experimental study of forms of expression. Char. Personal., 2 168–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yin, R. K. (1969). Looking at upside-down faces. J. exp. Psychol., 81, 141–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Yin, R. K. (1970). Face recognition by brain injured patients: a dissociable ability. Neuropsychologia, 8, 395–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© I. Steele Russell, M. W. van Hof and G. Berlucchi 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Bertelson
  • Hélène Vanhaelen
  • José Morais

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations