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    Face processing in Williams syndrome is already atypical in infancy

    D'Souza, Dean and Cole, V. and Farran, E.K. and Brown, J.H. and Humphreys, K. and Howard, J. and Rodic, M. and Dekker, Tessa and D'Souza, H. and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette (2015) Face processing in Williams syndrome is already atypical in infancy. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (760), pp. 1-9. ISSN 1664-1078.

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    Abstract

    Face processing is a crucial socio-cognitive ability. Is it acquired progressively or does it constitute an innately-specified, face-processing module? The latter would be supported if some individuals with seriously impaired intelligence nonetheless showed intact face- processing abilities. Some theorists claim that Williams syndrome (WS) provides such evidence since, despite IQs in the 50s, adolescents/adults with WS score in the normal range on standardized face-processing tests. Others argue that atypical neural and cognitive processes underlie WS face-processing proficiencies. But what about infants with WS? Do they start with typical face-processing abilities, with atypicality developing later, or are atypicalities already evident in infancy? We used an infant familiarization/novelty design and compared infants with WS to typically developing controls as well as to a group of infants with Down syndrome matched on both mental and chronological age. Participants were familiarized with a schematic face, after which they saw a novel face in which either the features (eye shape) were changed or just the configuration of the original features. Configural changes were processed successfully by controls, but not by infants with WS who were only sensitive to featural changes and who showed syndrome-specific profiles different from infants with the other neurodevelopmental disorder. Our findings indicate that theorists can no longer use the case of WS to support claims that evolution has endowed the human brain with an independent face-processing module.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): infancy, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, face processing, featural, configural, nativism, progressive modularization
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Dean D'souza
    Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 10:12
    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:50
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/12356

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