Speaker Identification: The Right Anterior Temporal Lobe and Acquired Recognition Disorders
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The ability to recognize a familiar person relies on successful name, voice, and face processing. Brain damage to the right anterior temporal lobe can cause deficits in processing important visual and auditory information regarding speaker identification. Neuroimaging and theoretical models have been used in an attempt to understand the role of this cortical area in recognizing faces and voices. Prosopagnosia is a type of visual processing deficit that affects only recognition of the face (Gainotti, 2010). Phonagnosia is an auditory processing deficit that affects voice recognition (Gainotti, 2011). Both prosopagnosia and phonagnosia can have consequences on an individual's ability to identify a speaker, sometimes causing significant impairments in social interactions (Gainotti, 2015). Identifying a communication partner correctly is crucial in order to be able to call upon prior knowledge about that individual. Gainotti (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015) challenged the literature regarding agnosias and other recognition disorders involving more than one sensory mode, and examined how the right hemisphere, specifically the front of the temporal lobe, carries out the functions necessary to pinpoint who is speaking and how to properly label a patient when those functions fail.