Attention to Faces in Williams Syndrome

Deborah Riby, Nicola Jones, Philippa Brown, Lucy Robinson, Stephen Langton, Vicki Bruce, Leigh Riby

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Williams syndrome (WS) is associated with distinct social behaviours. One component of the WS social phenotype is atypically prolonged face fixation. This behaviour co-exists with attention difficulties. Attention is multi-faceted and may impact on gaze behaviour in several ways. Four experiments assessed (i) attention capture by faces, (ii) interference from facial stimuli, (iii) face bias, and (iv) attention disengagement. Individuals with WS were compared to typically developing participants of comparable nonverbal ability and chronological age. The first three experiments revealed no atypicality of attention to faces in WS. However, in experiment 4 there was a suggestion that individuals with WS (compared to those developing typically) found it much more time consuming to disengage from faces than objects. The results are discussed in terms of attention abnormalities and possible face disengagement difficulties in WS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1239
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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