Music affinity and emotion in Williams Syndrome




Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder. Of interest to cognitive scientists is the uneven cognitive profile that is characteristic of the syndrome. In spite of mild to moderate intellectual disability, a complex pattern of strengths and weaknesses is found in their cognitive abilities. Strengths are seen in linguistic abilities and facial processing whereas weaknesses include visuo-spatial skills and conceptual reasoning abilities. Numerous anecdotes exist regarding musical abilities in individuals with WS. To elaborate on the neuropsychological profile of WS and particularly to better understand the affinity to music in individuals with WS, the present study examined the perception and production of music in this population. Results revealed that overall, individuals with WS were more expressive than typically developing individuals when they were involved with music. This study serves to further characterize this unique social and cognitive profile of individuals with WS, adding an affinity to music as a characteristic of their phenotype.

Author Biography

Philip To Lai, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Philip T. Lai Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.


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