Randi Starrfelt

Randi Starrfelt


Primary fields of research

I am currently involved in research on two main topics:

I. Faceblindness (congenital prosopagnosia)

It is estimated that about 2% of the population suffers from great difficulties in recognising faces, even the faces of people they know well. This has only recently become a topic of scientific investigation, and still little is known about the cause of this deficit. 

In our main current project on prosopagnosia, we take a qualitative approach, with the aim of characterising the epxerience of faces in people with developmental prosopagnosia. This project is a collaboration with associate professor Tone Roald.

In another project we collaborate with researchers at Department of Psychology at University of Southern Denmark, as well as other departments across the Nordic countries. Here, we investigate th pattern of performance of people with prosopagnosia across a range of cognitive and perceptual tests in order to shed light on the underlying mechanism of the condition. The main results from our first gruop of particpants are summarised in this paper.

The Danish website for this project can be found here: www.ansigtsblind.dk 

II. The Back of the Brain - project

In this project we investigate the neuropsychological deficits associated with damage to posterior areas in the brain, with particular emphasis on deficits in face, object, and word recognition. We will also investigate the relationship between these functions in normal subjects. The project is a collaboration with University College London and University of Cambridge.

This project was funded by a Sapere Aude - DFF Starting Grant from the Danish Council for Indpendent Research. The main behavioral results of the project are published open access here.

Also see our Labpage www.psychology.ku.dk/starrlab


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Book chapters:

Starrfelt, R., & Barton, J. J. S. (2022). Prosopagnosia. In S. Della Sala (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2nd edition (Second Edition) (pp. 597-604). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819641-0.00047-5
Starrfelt, R., & Woodhead, Z. (2022). Reading and Alexia. In S. Della Sala (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2nd edition (Second Edition) (pp. 520-531). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819641-0.00059-1
Starrfelt, R., & Woodhead, Z. (2021). Chapter 12 - Reading and alexia. In J. J. S. Barton, & A. Leff (Eds.), Neurology of Vision and Visual Disorders (Vol. 178, pp. 213-232). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-821377-3.00010-6

Book: A. Leff & R. Starrfelt. Alexia: Diagnosis, Treatment and Theory. London: Springer Verlag.

This book is a comprehensive review of the main acquired disorders of reading: hemianopic, pure and central alexia. We review the diagnostic criteria for each of the different types of disorder, and the efficacy of the therapeutic studies that have attempted to remediate them. The different theoretical models of adult reading, which largely rest on how the reading system responds to injury, are also discussed and evaluated. Read more at the publisher's website.


Major grants:

2021- 2025: Independent Research Fund Denmark - Humanities. The phenomenology of face blindness. In collaboration with Associate professor Tone Roald.

2015-2022: Sapere Aude starting grant, Danish Research Council: The Back of the Brain (BoB): A new approch to cerebral specialisation of perceptual functions.

2014-2022: Danish Research Council | Humanities: On the relations between face, word and object recognition: A new and developmental perspective. In collaboration with Professor C. Gerlach, University of Southern Denmark.



Teaching: Coordinator main teacher on the MA-programme in Neuropsychology [Lecture series, seminars, practical seminars]. Cognitive psychology (BA level).

Supervision: MA-theses and PhDs in neuropsychology, cognitive (neuro)science, (neuro)psychiatry.

Current PhD-students:

Erling Nørkær (the Phenomenology of Face blindness)

Katrine Sand (EnVision - Cerebral Palsy)

Previous PhD-students: Ro J. Robotham (BoB-project); Solja K. Klargaard (prosopagnosia, SDU); Christina D. Kühn (prosopagnosia, SDU).


Fields of interest

Cognitive neuropsychology, in particular visual deficits and language disorders following acquired brain damage.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Category-selective deficits are the exception and not the rule: Evidence from a case-series of 64 patients with ventral occipito-temporal cortex damage

    Rice, G. E., Kerry, S. J., Robotham, Ro Julia, Leff, A. P., Lambon Ralph, M. A. & Starrfelt, Randi, May 2021, In: Cortex. 138, p. 266-281 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  2. Published

    The Architect Who Lost the Ability to Imagine: The Cerebral Basis of Visual Imagery

    Thorudottir, S., Sigurdardottir, H. M., Rice, G. E., Kerry, S. J., Robotham, Ro Julia, Leff, A. P. & Starrfelt, Randi, 2020, In: Brain Sciences. 10, 2, 59.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  3. Published

    The Good, the Bad, and the Average: Characterizing the Relationship Between Face and Object Processing Across the Face Recognition Spectrum

    Hendel, R. K., Starrfelt, Randi & Gerlach, C., 2019, In: Neuropsychologia. 124, p. 274-284

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  4. Published

    Reading in Developmental Prosopagnosia: Evidence for a Dissociation Between Word and Face Recognition

    Starrfelt, Randi, Klargaard, S., Petersen, Anders & Gerlach, C., Mar 2018, In: Neuropsychology. 32, 2, p. 138-147 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  5. Published

    What’s in a name? The characterisation of pure alexia

    Starrfelt, Randi & Shallice, T., 2014, In: Cognitive Neuropsychology. 31, 5-6, p. 367–377 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

ID: 10235