Social-perceptual and social-cognitive skills in young children with Williams syndrome: Evidence for discontinuity

Susan L. Hepburn, Deborah J. Fidlery, Laura Hahn, Amy Philofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dissociations between social-perceptual (i.e., dynamic perceptions of affective cues) and social-cognitive processing (i.e., interpretation or reasoning with regard to the affective information) have been found in adolescents and adults with Williams syndrome; however, less is known about the developmental precursors of these skills in children with this neurogenetic syndrome. In this review, we examine the literature on social-cognitive skills in children with Williams syndrome. We then present a case report that examines the early social and communication behaviors in young children with Williams syndrome (under 5) that provides additional evidence for an early emerging strength in social-perceptual processing and a weakness in social-cognitive skills. The dissociation of early social-perceptual and social-cognitive behaviors leads to theoretical questions concerning the role of joint attention in language development, as well as the impact of shared attention on social reciprocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
Pages (from-to)181-210
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Between-group comparison
  • Williams syndrome
  • Social-perceptual
  • Perception
  • Language ability
  • Discontinuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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