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Title: The rehabilitation of face recognition impairments: A critical review and future directions
Authors: Bate, S
Bennetts, RJ
Citation: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2014, 8 (JULY)
Abstract: While much research has investigated the neural and cognitive characteristics of face recognition impairments (prosopagnosia), much less work has examined their rehabilitation. In this paper, we present a critical analysis of the studies that have attempted to improve face-processing skills in acquired and developmental prosopagnosia, and place them in the context of the wider neurorehabilitation literature. First, we examine whether neuroplasticity within the typical face-processing system varies across the lifespan, in order to examine whether timing of intervention may be crucial. Second, we examine reports of interventions in acquired prosopagnosia, where training in compensatory strategies has had some success. Third, we examine reports of interventions in developmental prosopagnosia, where compensatory training in children and remedial training in adults have both been successful. However, the gains are somewhat limited-compensatory strategies have resulted in labored recognition techniques and limited generalization to untrained faces, and remedial techniques require longer periods of training and result in limited maintenance of gains. Critically, intervention suitability and outcome in both forms of the condition likely depends on a complex interaction of factors, including prosopagnosia severity, the precise functional locus of the impairment, and individual differences such as age. Finally, we discuss future directions in the rehabilitation of prosopagnosia, and the possibility of boosting the effects of cognitive training programmes by simultaneous administration of oxytocin or non-invasive brain stimulation. We conclude that future work using more systematic methods and larger participant groups is clearly required, and in the case of developmental prosopagnosia, there is an urgent need to develop early detection and remediation tools for children, in order to optimize intervention outcome. © 2014 Bate and Bennetts.
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