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Bangor Brain & Cognitive Development Laboratory

Research - Williams Syndrome

Williams Syndrome (WS) is a rare neurocognitive disorder caused by a deletion of approximately 25 genes on chromosome 7. WS is associated with marked and specific alterations in cognitive development and brain structure. The unusual neurocognitive and genetic profiles in Williams Syndrome (WS) provide a unique opportunity to examine how these factors interact to shape cerebral specializations for language and non-language cognitive functions. One goal in this line of research is to link variability in the phenotypic expression of specific patterns of abnormal brain function in individuals with WS to variability in brain structure, cognitive and genetic profiles. To date we have identified electrophysiological signatures of abnormal brain function linked to the processing of faces, auditory language, and sensory processing typical of individuals with WS. In other research we have found that even cognitive processes that are relatively spared in WS, such as face recognition and language skills, show an atypical pattern of brain organization.

Current studies with adults and children with WS include:

  1. Face and object perception and recognition
  2. Auditory sensory processing
  3. Auditory sentence processing
  4. Colour and motion perception (magnocellular and parvocellular pathways)


*Note: We are not currently testing participants with WS in Bangor. These studies are in collaboration with other sites.