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Viewing it differently: Social scene perception in Williams syndrome and Autism

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Debbie Riby


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The genetic disorder Williams syndrome (WS) is associated with a propulsion towards social stimuli and interactions with people. In contrast, the neuro-developmental disorder autism is characterised by social withdrawal and lack of interest in socially relevant information. Using eye-tracking techniques we investigate how individuals with these two neuro-developmental disorders associated with distinct social characteristics view scenes containing people. The way individuals with these disorders view social stimuli may impact upon successful social interactions and communication. Whilst individuals with autism spend less time than is typical viewing people and faces in static pictures of social interactions, the opposite is apparent for those with WS whereby exaggerated fixations are prevalent towards the eyes. The results suggest more attention should be drawn towards understanding the implications of atypical social preferences in WS, in the same way that attention has been drawn to the social deficits associated with autism. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Riby DM, Hancock PJB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropsychologia

Year: 2008

Volume: 46

Issue: 11

Pages: 2855-2860

Print publication date: 01/09/2008

ISSN (print): 0028-3932

ISSN (electronic): 0028-3932

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.05.003


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Funder referenceFunder name
R000222030Economic and Social Research Council