Social approach in preschool children with Williams syndrome: The role of the face.

Helen Dodd, Melanie Porter, Gemma Peters, Ronald Rapee

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Abstract

Background Indiscriminate social approach behaviour is a salient aspect of the Williams syndrome (WS) behavioural phenotype. The present study examines approach behaviour in preschoolers with WS and evaluates the role of the face in WS social approach behaviour. Method Ten preschoolers with WS (aged 3-6 years) and two groups of typically developing children, matched to the WS group on chronological or mental age, participated in an observed play session. The play session incorporated social and non-social components including two components that assessed approach behaviour towards strangers, one in which the stranger’s face could be seen and one in which the stranger’s face was covered. Results In response to the non-social aspects of the play session, the WS group behaved similarly to both control groups. In contrast, the preschoolers with WS were significantly more willing than either control group to engage with a stranger, even when the stranger’s face could not be seen. Conclusion The findings challenge the hypothesis that an unusual attraction to the face directly motivates social approach behaviour in individuals with WS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-203
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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