3 November 2009
Individuals with developmental prosopagnosia exhibit severe and lasting difficulties in recognizing faces despite the absence of apparent brain abnormalities. We used voxel-based morphometry to investigate whether developmental prosopagnosics show subtle neuroanatomical differences from controls. An analysis based on segmentation of T1-weighted images from 17 developmental prosopagnosics and 18 matched controls revealed that they had reduced grey matter volume in the right anterior inferior temporal lobe and in the superior temporal sulcus/middle temporal gyrus bilaterally. In addition, a voxel-based morphometry analysis based on the segmentation of magnetization transfer parameter maps showed that developmental prosopagnosics also had reduced grey matter volume in the right middle fusiform gyrus and the inferior temporal gyrus. Multiple regression analyses relating three distinct behavioural component scores, derived from a principal component analysis, to grey matter volume revealed an association between a component related to facial identity and grey matter volume in the left superior temporal sulcus/middle temporal gyrus plus the right middle fusiform gyrus/inferior temporal gyrus. Grey matter volume in the lateral occipital cortex was associated with component scores related to object recognition tasks. Our results demonstrate that developmental prosopagnosics have reduced grey matter volume in several regions known to respond selectively to faces and provide new evidence that integrity of these areas relates to face recognition ability.