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Facial Expression Recognition Preservation Examined

Neurology; ePub 2019 Feb 8; Pressman, et al

Patients with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) have relatively preserved facial expression (FE) recognition compared to facial identity (FI) recognition, as seen in affective blindsight. This according to a recent study that aimed to compare recognition of FE vs recognition of facial identity FI in PCA, with the hypothesis that FE recognition would be relatively preserved in PCA.

In this observational study, FI and expression recognition tasks were performed by 194 participants in 4 groups, including 39 with Alzheimer disease (AD) (non-PCA), 49 with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), 15 with PCA, and 91 healthy controls. Between-group differences in test scores were compared. Researchers found:

  • Patients with PCA performed worse than healthy controls in FI and emotion recognition tasks.
  • Patients with PCA also performed worse than AD and bvFTD groups in FI recognition, with no difference in FE recognition.


Pressman PS, Gola K, Shdo SM, et al. Relative preservation of facial expression recognition in posterior cortical atrophy. [Published online ahead of print February 8, 2019]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000007075.