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Exploring block construction and mental imagery: Evidence of atypical orientation discrimination in Williams syndrome

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The visuospatial perceptual abilities of individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) were investigated in two experiments. Experiment 1 measured the ability of participants to discriminate between oblique and between nonoblique orientations. Individuals with WS showed a smaller effect of obliqueness in response time, when compared to controls matched for nonverbal mental age. Experiment 2 investigated the possibility that this deviant pattern of orientation discrimination accounts for the poor ability to perform mental rotation in WS (Farran, Jarrold, & Gathercole, 2001). A size transformation task was employed, which shares the image transformation requirements of mental rotation, but not the orientation discrimination demands. Individuals with WS performed at the same level as controls. The results suggest a deviance at the perceptual level in WS, in processing orientation, which fractionates from the ability to mentally transform images.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Reading, UK 2: University of Bristol, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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