A multimeasure approach to investigating affective appraisal of social information in Williams syndrome
Skwerer, Daniela Plesa
Fine, Alex B.
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Citation (published version)Daniela Plesa Skwerer, Emily Ammerman, Marie-Christine Andre, Lucia Ciciolla, Alex B Fine, Helen Tager-Flusberg. 2011. "A multimeasure approach to investigating affective appraisal of social information in Williams syndrome." JOURNAL OF NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp. 325 - 334 (10). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11689-011-9100-9
People with Williams syndrome (WS) have been consistently described as showing heightened sociability, gregariousness, and interest in people, in conjunction with an uneven cognitive profile and mild to moderate intellectual or learning disability. To explore the mechanisms underlying this unusual social–behavioral phenotype, we investigated whether individuals with WS show an atypical appraisal style and autonomic responsiveness to emotionally laden images with social or nonsocial content. Adolescents and adults with WS were compared to chronological age-matched and nonverbal mental age-matched groups in their responses to positive and negative images with or without social content, using measures of self-selected viewing time (SSVT), autonomic arousal reflected in pupil dilation measures, and likeability ratings. The participants with WS looked significantly longer at the social images compared to images without social content and had reduced arousal to the negative social images compared to the control groups. In contrast to the comparison groups, the explicit ratings of likeability in the WS group did not correlate with their SSVT; instead, they reflected an appraisal style of more extreme ratings. This distinctive pattern of viewing interest, likeability ratings, and autonomic arousal to images with social content in the WS group suggests that their heightened social drive may be related to atypical functioning of reward-related brain systems reflected in SSVT and autonomic reactivity measures, but not in explicit ratings.
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