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Williams syndrome: reduced orienting to other’s eyes in a hypersocial phenotype

Kleberg, Johan Lundin and Riby, Deborah and Fawcett, Christine and Bjorlin Avdic, Hanna and Frick, Matilda A. and Brocki, Karin C. and Hogstrom, Jens and Serlachius, Eva and Nordgren, Ann and Willfors, Charlotte (2022) 'Williams syndrome: reduced orienting to other’s eyes in a hypersocial phenotype.', Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders . pp. 1-12.


Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic condition associated with high sociability, intellectual disability, and social cognitive challenges. Attention to others’ eyes is crucial for social understanding. Orienting to, and from other’s eyes was studied in WS (n = 37, mean age = 23, age range 9–53). The WS group was compared to a typically developing comparison participants (n = 167) in stratified age groups from infancy to adulthood. Typically developing children and adults were quicker and more likely to orient to eyes than the mouth. This bias was absent in WS. The WS group had reduced peak saccadic velocities, indicating hypo-arousal. The current study indicates reduced orienting to others’ eyes in WS, which may affect social interaction skills.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
Date accepted:31 March 2022
Date deposited:12 May 2022
Date of first online publication:20 April 2022
Date first made open access:12 May 2022

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