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Facial emotion recognition in Williams syndrome and Down syndrome : a matching and developmental study.

Martínez-Castilla, P. and Burt, M. and Borgatti, R. and Gagliardi, C. (2015) 'Facial emotion recognition in Williams syndrome and Down syndrome : a matching and developmental study.', Child neuropsychology., 21 (5). pp. 668-692.


In this study both the matching and developmental trajectories approaches were used to clarify questions that remain open in the literature on facial emotion recognition in Williams syndrome (WS) and Down syndrome (DS). The matching approach showed that individuals with WS or DS exhibit neither proficiency for the expression of happiness nor specific impairments for negative emotions. Instead, they present the same pattern of emotion recognition as typically developing (TD) individuals. Thus, the better performance on the recognition of positive compared to negative emotions usually reported in WS and DS is not specific of these populations but seems to represent a typical pattern. Prior studies based on the matching approach suggested that the development of facial emotion recognition is delayed in WS and atypical in DS. Nevertheless, and even though performance levels were lower in DS than in WS, the developmental trajectories approach used in this study evidenced that not only individuals with DS but also those with WS present atypical development in facial emotion recognition. Unlike in the TD participants, where developmental changes were observed along with age, in the WS and DS groups, the development of facial emotion recognition was static. Both individuals with WS and those with DS reached an early maximum developmental level due to cognitive constraints.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, Facial emotion recognition, Matching, Developmental trajectories.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Child Neuropsychology on 07/08/2014, available online at:
Date accepted:11 July 2014
Date deposited:11 December 2015
Date of first online publication:07 August 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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