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Am J Ment Retard. 2002 May;107(3):194-200.

Effects of environmental events on smiling and laughing behavior in Angelman syndrome.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK.


Angelman syndrome is a neurogenetic disorder associated with unique behaviors and characteristics, including an unusually happy expression, inability to speak, ataxia, mental retardation, and abnormal EEG. Previous research has suggested that smiling and laughing behaviors in Angelman syndrome are inappropriate, excessive, and dissociated from contextual events. In the present study, the variability of smiling and laughing behaviors of 3 individuals with Angelman syndrome was examined across typical social contexts. Results indicate that laughing and smiling increased during social situations and occurred at low levels during non-social situations. The behaviors, therefore, did not occur totally inappropriately, as has been suggested. The findings illustrate the need to divert attention to the examination of environmental influences on purported phenotypic behavior in genetic syndromes.

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