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ERIC Number: EJ830295
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0278-2626
Working Memory Impairment in People with Williams Syndrome: Effects of Delay, Task and Stimuli
O'Hearn, Kirsten; Courtney, Susan; Street, Whitney; Landau, Barbara
Brain and Cognition, v69 n3 p495-503 Apr 2009
Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with impaired visuospatial representations subserved by the dorsal stream and relatively strong object recognition abilities subserved by the ventral stream. There is conflicting evidence on whether this uneven pattern in WS extends to working memory (WM). The present studies provide a new perspective, testing WM for a single stimulus using a delayed recognition paradigm in individuals with WS and typically developing children matched for mental age (MA matches). In three experiments, participants judged whether a second stimulus "matched" an initial sample, either in location or identity. We first examined memory for faces, houses and locations using a 5 s delay (Experiment 1) and a 2 s delay (Experiment 2). We then tested memory for human faces, houses, cat faces, and shoes with a 2 s delay using a new set of stimuli that were better controlled for expression, hairline and orientation (Experiment 3). With the 5 s delay (Experiment 1), the WS group was impaired overall compared to MA matches. While participants with WS tended to perform more poorly than MA matches with the 2 s delay, they also exhibited an uneven profile compared to MA matches. Face recognition was relatively preserved in WS with friendly faces (Experiment 2) but not when the faces had a neutral expression and were less natural looking (Experiment 3). Experiment 3 indicated that memory for object identity was relatively stronger than memory for location in WS. These findings reveal an overall WM impairment in WS that can be overcome under some conditions. Abnormalities in the parietal lobe/dorsal stream in WS may damage not only the representation of spatial location but may also impact WM for visual stimuli more generally. (Contains 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A