Visual search in Williams syndrome and development coordination disorder

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The cognitive profiles of both individuals with Williams Syndrome (WS) and individuals with development coordination disorder (DCD) have been proposed to be explained by a dorsal stream deficit. In a series of studies we explored visual search for a target amongst distracters. Targets were made distinct from distracter by features that can be described as predominantly activating the ventral stream (static features), the dorsal stream (dynamic features) or a combination of both.

Results broadly demonstrated that both individuals with WS and individuals with DCD show the typical dichotomy between efficient search for targets defined by a single feature, and inefficient search for targets defined by a conjunction of features. Furthermore, WS, DCD and TD control groups showed a similar pattern of poorer visual search for targets defined by dynamic features, than targets defined by static features. This suggests that, within the context of visual search, WS and DCD groups did not demonstrate evidence of a dorsal stream deficit. Exploration of search strategies, however, demonstrated atypical search strategies in the WS group, but not the DCD group. This supports the hypothesis that some aspects of dorsal stream functioning are impaired in WS.

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Our research is supported by research groups and centres of excellence.

Cognition, Genes and Developmental Variability Lab 

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