Thursday, October 29, 2009

Covert processing of facial expressions by people with Williams syndrome

Covert processing of facial expressions by people with Williams syndrome:

"Although individuals with Williams Syndrome (WS) are empathic and sociable and perform relatively well on face recognition tasks, they perform poorly on tasks of facial expression recognition. The current study sought to investigate this seeming inconsistency. Participants were tested on a Garner-type matching paradigm in which identities and expressions were manipulated simultaneously as the relevant or irrelevant dimensions. Performance of people with WS on the expression-matching task was poor and relied primarily on facilitation afforded by congruent identities. Performance on the identity matching task came close to the level of performance of matched controls and was significantly facilitated by congruent expressions. We discuss potential accounts for the discrepant processing of expressions in the task-relevant (overt) and task-irrelevant (covert) conditions, expanding on the inherently semantic-conceptual nature of overt expression matching and its dependence on general cognitive level."

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