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paris paris at merck.com
Mon Jun 9 14:55:04 EST 1997

Sammy2x wrote:

> Right Hemisphere Specialization in Face Processing

I would change Processing to Recognition, when I first started reading this I 
thought it would be about facial expressions not face recgonition. A simple 
change in the title says alot.

>      Let me put to rest any notions that face processing is a left
> hemisphere  rocess.  Studies of prosopagnosia, a clinically rare syndrome,
> are usually based on single case reports or reports on a small number of
> cases.  Neurological observations (e.g. visual field deficits in the upper
> left quadrant) and X-ray or CAT scan evidence suggest right hemisphere
> damage.  Although this is a unilateral reference, all nine cases of
> prosopagnosia that have come to autopsy were reported with bilateral
> damage. "Whereas the right hemisphere lesion is consistently
> occipitotemporal, the location of the left hemisphere lesion is more
> variable.  Perhaps a bilateral lesion is a prerequisite for prosopagnosia
> because patients with unilateral right hemisphere lesions may be able to
> recognize familiar faces by relying on the face recognition abilities of
> the intact left hemisphere that have been demonstrated in commisurotomy
> patients."  Regardless, even the autopsy results on prosopagnosic patient
> would not predict a left hemisphere advantage for the recognition of known
> faces. (Levine; Ed: Best, 164).  One inference made by Levy, Trevarthen,
> and Sperry (1972) is that perhaps the deficit in the ability to associate
> names and faces may be due to the disconnection of the verbal naming
> functions of the left hemisphere from the facial recognition skills of the
> right (Springer, 38).

This hasn't put to rest anything in fact the last sentence leaves you open for a 
different notion than that which you are saying i.e. that verbal and facial 
recongition may be due to disconnection...

   On another note, considering that the right
> hemisphere is the major role player in the production of emotion, the left
> side of the face is where most emotion is present.  Spontaneous looking
> experiments done by Yarbus (1967) shows that peoples' fixation during
> prolonged observation of pictures, particularly of faces, tends to focus
> most attention on the right side of a person's face (Kahneman, 53).  I
> find it intriguing that considering our right hemisphere is more adept at
> producing and processing emotional and facial qualities, we proceed to
> look at the right side of people's faces rather than the more emotional
> left side.  So even though we do not match our best processing abilities
> with others' production abilities, we are still quite effective at
> perceiving the emotional attributes of others.

I liked everything up till this point. You have now added a new element into 
your discussion that does not need to be there. Your conclusion is not talking 
about the right hemisphere recognition of faces instead you talk about the way 
that people look at faces for a prolonged time which is just the opposite of 
what one might have expected.

This is not the focus of your discussion and should be eliminated or discussed 
further with its impact on the recognition factor of faces that we may have 
veiwed for prolonged periods. Is this the reason we recognise emotions in loved 
ones or familiar people more than we would of someone we just met? Even if to 
someelse it may seem that that person is showing no emotion (i.e. I know what 
so-&-so is thinking just by looking at him?) do we recognise them and their 
emotions better because of prolonged exposure where our right hemispheres are 
now taking into account the non-emotional side of faces?. Too many other factors 
are brought in. Think about it.


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