Voice Recognition in Face-Blind Patients

Right or bilateral anterior temporal damage can impair face recognition, but whether this is an associative variant of prosopagnosia or part of a multimodal disorder of person recognition is an unsettled question, with implications for cognitive and neuroanatomic models of person recognition. We assessed voice perception and short-term recognition of recently heard voices in 10 subjects with impaired face recognition acquired after cerebral lesions. All 4 subjects with apperceptive prosopagnosia due to lesions limited to fusiform cortex had intact voice discrimination and recognition. One subject with bilateral fusiform and anterior temporal lesions had a combined apperceptive prosopagnosia and apperceptive phonagnosia, the first such described case. Deficits indicating a multimodal syndrome of person recognition were found only in 2 subjects with bilateral anterior temporal lesions. All 3 subjects with right anterior temporal lesions had normal voice perception and recognition, 2 of whom performed normally on perceptual discrimination of faces. This confirms that such lesions can cause a modality-specific associative prosopagnosia.