- Covert recognition of faces in prosopagnosia, in which patients cannot overtly recognize faces but nevertheless manifest recognition when tested in certain indirect ways, has been interpreted as the functioning of an intact visual face recognition system deprived of access to other brain systems necessary for consciousness. The authors propose an alternative hypothesis: that the visual face recognition system is damaged but not obliterated in these patients and that damaged neural networks will manifest their residual knowledge in just the kinds of tasks used to measure covert recognition. To test this, a simple model of face recognition is lesioned in the parts of the model corresponding to visual processing. The model demonstrates covert recognition in 3 qualitatively different tasks. Implications for the nature of prosopagnosia, and for other types of dissociations between conscious and unconscious perception, are discussed.