Spatial Integration in Normal Face Processing and Its Breakdown in Congenital Prosopagnosia

Galia Avidan, Marlene Behrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Congenital prosopagnosia (CP), a life-long impairment in face processing that occurs in the absence of any apparent brain damage, provides a unique model in which to explore the psychological and neural bases of normal face processing. The goal of this review is to offer a theoretical and conceptual framework that may account for the underlying cognitive and neural deficits in CP. This framework may also provide a novel perspective in which to reconcile some conflicting results that permits the expansion of the research in this field in new directions. The crux of this framework lies in linking the known behavioral and neural underpinnings of face processing and their impairments in CP to a model incorporating grid cell-like activity in the entorhinal cortex. Moreover, it stresses the involvement of active, spatial scanning of the environment with eye movements and implicates their critical role in face encoding and recognition. To begin with, we describe the main behavioral and neural characteristics of CP, and then lay down the building blocks of our proposed model, referring to the existing literature supporting this new framework. We then propose testable predictions and conclude with open questions for future research stemming from this model.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)301-321
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Vision Science
Early online date20 May 2021
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2021


  • Grid-like cells
  • entorhinal cortex
  • eye movements
  • holistic processing
  • receptive field
  • ventral visual pathway

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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