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A single case study is presented of a patient, Mr. W, with a selective deficit in recognizing pictures and real objects, linked to impaired stored visual knowledge about objects. Despite this, Mr. W maintained a preserved ability both to read aloud printed words and to recognize famous faces, when compared with age-matched control subjects. In addition, his access to semantic information from words was superior to that from pictures. The data provide evidence that visual agnosia can occur without alexia or prosopagnosia, contrary to recent proposals (Farah 1990, 1991). This finding is consistent with a hierarchical model of visual object recognition in which agnosia can reflect impaired stored knowledge of objects without accompanying perceptual deficits. The selective recognition deficit for objects further indicates that stored knowledge concerning different classes of visual stimuli (common objects, faces, and words) is separately represented in the brain. © 1994, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Visual Cognition

Publication Date





181 - 225