Relative preservation of facial expression recognition in posterior cortical atrophy


To compare recognition of facial expression (FE) vs recognition of facial identity (FI) in posterior cortical atrophy (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.


Patients with PCA performed worse than healthy controls in FI and emotion recognition tasks (p < 0.001 for all). Patients with PCA also performed worse than AD and bvFTD groups in FI recognition, with no difference in FE recognition.


Patients with PCA have relatively preserved FE recognition compared to FI recognition, as seen in affective blindsight.

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