Face perception allows us to recognise one another and is an important social communication facilitator ingrained in our evolutionary past. Face perception has long been an interesting field of study with research focusing on whether face perception is mediated by domain specific mechanisms. Variuos evidence from neuropsychology, neurophysilogy, cognitive development and functional brain imaging suggetst that feac perception may be mediated by a spoecilaised system in the human brain. In evaluating such evidence that face perception is localized to discrete anatomical locations within the brain it must be made clear that face perception involves multiple specific cognitive functions. Indeed face perception involves not only recognition of identity but moreover higher cognitive functions such as recognition of emotion and mood. It is unreasonable too assume that csuch varied cognitive function would be localised to discrete regions. The perception f ofaces elicits neural activity in multiple regions and is therefore more of a distributed neural system. However the cognitively distinct asopect of the recognition of identity seems to be mediated by distinct neural representations.
Neuropsyhological studies involving patients with prosopagnosia (McNeil and Warrington, 1993; ), a selective impairment of the ability to recognize familiar faces despite a largely preserved ability to recognize objects, provides strong evidence that distinct neural systems mediate face perception. The compelling study of patient WJ showed that prospagnosia cannot b seen as a more general impairment for within category-category discriminations. The mCneil and Warrington study of Wj a ptient who exhibited profound proaopagnoisa was however able to recofnise another group of visually and easil confussble stimuli, the faces of sheep. Double dissociations have also been found, patient CK (REF) exhibited impaired reading and object rcognition despoite normal face recognition, indicating that the neural systems involved in face recognition and object recognition are dissociated.