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.


The human voice areas: Spatial organization and inter-individual variability in temporal and extra-temporal cortices

  • Three “voice patches” along human superior temporal gyrus/sulcus.
  • Anatomical location reproducible within- but variable between-individuals.
  • Extended voice processing network includes amygdala and prefrontal cortex.
  • Stimulus material for “voice localizer” scan available for download.

Multivariate sensitivity to voice during auditory categorization

Across a series of auditory categorization tests, we found that bilateral superior and middle temporal cortex consistently exhibited robust sensitivity to human vocal sounds. Although the strongest categorization was in distinguishing human voice from other categories, subsets of these regions were also able to distinguish reliably between nonhuman categories, suggesting a general role in auditory object categorization. Our findings complement the current evidence of cortical sensitivity to human vocal sounds by revealing that the greatest sensitivity during categorization tasks is devoted to distinguishing voice from nonvoice categories within human temporal cortex.