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Training face/name associations in prosopagnosia
Brain Impairment, 6(2), 149-150
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Learning and face/name associations in CR, a woman with prosopagnosia secondary to herpes simplex encephalitis, was investigated in the present study. Ten months post-injury, CR continues to report difficulty recognising familiar people. Formal assessment indicated impairment of face recognition and semantic knowledge of famous people, with preserved perceptual processing of faces. To establish the training protocol, three faces were selected ó a man, a woman and a child ó and paired with fictitious names. Based upon the method described in Francis et al. (2002), CR was asked to change the name of the person into an image and link with this a prominent feature of the photograph. Learning was consolidated via expanded rehearsal, with criterion of accurate recall after 5 minutes. Training was initially attempted with one face. Following carry-over across sessions, training was attempted with the other two faces. Recall was tested 10 minutes after completion of training. CR was able to learn the face/name association for one photograph ('Joe Marsh') and recall this 2 weeks later. Learning of the other two faces was also successful ('Sarah Little' and 'Nick Watkins') although learning of the third face required additional consolidation. However, CR was able to recall the three names when shown the photographs at test. Previous attempts to retrain face and person information in prosopagnosia have proved difficult. Using the errorless learning principles of improved learning when mistakes are prevented, we have shown intact learning of face/name associations in a woman with prosopagnosia. This will form the basis of a training protocol for retraining of familiar people, such as her immediate family. Issues such as incorporation of semantic information and techniques to improve generalisation will be discussed. Poster given at the Conference on Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, July 11-12, 2005, Galway Ireland.