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December 2021

Understanding memory for faces in Parkinson's disease: the role of configural processing

Author(s): Hanley, J. R., Davies, A. D. M., Turnbull, C. J., Playfer, J. R.

Journal/Book: Neuropsychologia. 2000; 38: the Boulevard Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford Ox5 1GB, England. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 837-847.

Abstract: It has previously been reported that unfamiliar face recognition memory is impaired in Parkinson's disease (PD) [(Dewick, H. C., Hanley, J. R., Davies, A. D. M., Playfer, J. R. & Turnbull, C. J., perception and memory for faces in Parkinson's disease. Neuropsychologia, 1991, 29, 785-802), (Haeske-Dewick, H. C., Are perception and memory for faces influenced by a specific age at onset factor in Parkinson's disease? Neuropsychologia, 1996, 34, 315-320), (Levin, B. E., Llabre, M. M. & Weiner, W. J., Cognitive impairments associated with early Parkinson's disease. Neurology, 1989, 39, 557-561)]. In the work reported here, we consider the possible mechanisms that might underlie this impairment. 28 PD patients and 28 controls were given a two-part test of recognition memory for words and faces, and two perceptual tests to measure their configural and componential processing ability. We found that PD patients were significantly worse than controls on the recognition memory test for faces, but not when the stimuli were words. In addition, PD patients were significantly impaired relative to controls on the closure test (FCT) used to measure configural processing, but there was no difference between the two groups on a test of componential processing ability. Multiple regression analyses revealed that even after accounting for the influence of age, intelligence and level of depression, configural processing ability was the important predictor of unfamiliar face recognition memory in Parkinson's disease. There was no effect of Parkinsons disease specific variables on either face recognition or FCT performance. In addition, some recently diagnosed patients were pool at face recognition. It is suggested that face configuration skills may be affected very early in the course of Parkinsons disease, and that this may be connected to the fact that considerable nigrostriatal degeneration and alteration in brain neurotransmitter levels occur before the clinical symptoms of PD appear.

Note: Article Cousins R, Ctr Studies Social Sci, Edge Hill, St Helen Rd, Ormskirk L39 4QP, Lancs, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): face recognition; closure; modularity; holistic processing; componential processing; PARIETAL ASSOCIATION CORTEX; HUMAN EXTRASTRIATE CORTEX; FUNCTIONAL-ORGANIZATION; FACIAL RECOGNITION; COGNITIVE DEFICITS; SPATIAL LOCATION; TEMPORAL CORTEX; PERCEPTION; MECHANISMS; LOBE


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