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Heterogeneity of Social Approach Behaviour in Williams syndrome: The Role of Response Inhibition

Lookup NU author(s): Katie Little, Dr Debbie Riby, Dr Emily Janes, Fiona Clark, Ruth Fleck, Professor Jacqueline Rodgers


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The developmental disorder of Williams syndrome (WS) is associated with an overfriendly personality type, including an increased tendency to approach strangers. This atypical social approach behaviour (SAB) has been linked to two potential theories: the amygdala hypothesis and the frontal lobe hypothesis. The current study aimed to investigate heterogeneity of SAB in WS by exploring whether subgroups of SAB profiles could be identified using cluster analytic techniques. Twenty-five children with WS aged 6–15 years completed three behavioural tasks tapping (i) social approach behaviour, (ii) emotion recognition ability and (iii) response inhibition. Cluster analyses revealed preliminary evidence of WS subgroups based on SAB profiles and indicated that response inhibition ability was the key differentiating variable between SAB cluster profiles. The findings provide tentative support for the frontal lobe hypothesis of SAB in WS and highlight the importance of investigating SAB at a heterogeneous level.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Little K, Riby D, Janes E, Clark F, Fleck R, Rodgers J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research in Developmental Disabilities

Year: 2013

Volume: 34

Issue: 3

Pages: 959-967

Print publication date: 03/01/2013

Online publication date: 03/01/2013

ISSN (print): 0891-4222

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3379

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.11.020


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