Impairment of facial recognition after closed head injuries of varying severity.
Perceptual matching of photographs of unfamiliar faces was studied in 46 patients with closed head injury. The severity of head injury as indexed by duration of coma and neurological deficits was inversely related to accuracy of performance. Impairment of facial recognition was specifically associated with signs of concomitant hemispheric and brain stem injury. The presence of neurologic deficits suggesting less pervasive injury essentially confined to the cerebral hemispheres, skull fracture, and EEG abnormality was not related to this visuoperceptive deficit. The findings are discussed in relation to hypotheses concerning neurological dysfunction in head injury.