Guidelines for studying developmental prosopagnosia in adults and children

Kirsten A. Dalrymple*, Romina Palermo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by severe face identity recognition problems that results from a failure to develop the mechanisms necessary for adequate face processing (Duchaine BC, Nakayama K. Developmental prosopagnosia: a window to content-specific face processing. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2006, 16:166-173.). It occurs in children and adults with normal visual acuity, and without intellectual impairments or known brain injuries. Given the importance of face recognition in daily life, and the detrimental effects of impaired face recognition, DP is an important area of study. Yet conventions for classifying individuals as DP for research purposes are poorly defined. In this focus paper, we discuss: (1) criteria for an operational definition of DP; 2) tests of face recognition and conventions for classifying individuals as DP; and 3) important considerations regarding common associations and dissociations, and cognitive heterogeneity in DP. We also highlight issues unique to studying DP in children, a relatively new endeavor that is proving to be an important complement to the work with adults. Ultimately, we hope to identify challenges researchers face when studying DP, and offer guidelines for others to consider when embarking on their own research pursuits on the topic. WIREs Cogn Sci 2016, 7:73-87. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1374 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages15
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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