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Cortex. 2007 Feb;43(2):233-47.

Long-term memory for verbal and visual information in Down syndrome and Williams syndrome: performance on the Doors and People test.

Author information

  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. C.Jarrold@bristol.ac.uk


Previous studies have suggested that Williams syndrome and Down syndrome may be associated with specific short-term memory deficits. Individuals with Williams syndrome perform relatively poorly on tests of visuo-spatial short-term memory and individuals with Down syndrome show a relative deficit on verbal short-term memory tasks. However, these patterns of impairments may reflect the impact of generally impaired visuo-spatial processing skills in Williams syndrome, and verbal abilities in Down syndrome. The current study explored this possibility by assessing long-term memory among 15 individuals with Williams syndrome and 20 individuals with Down syndrome using the Doors and People test, a battery which assesses recall and recognition of verbal and visual information. Individuals' performance was standardised for age and level of intellectual ability with reference to that shown by a sample of 110 typically developing children. The results showed that individuals with Down syndrome have no differential deficits in long-term memory for verbal information, implying that verbal short-term memory deficits in this population are relatively selective. Instead both individuals with Down syndrome and with Williams syndrome showed some evidence of relatively poor performance on tests of long-term memory for visual information. It is therefore possible that visuo-spatial short-term memory deficits that have previously been demonstrated in Williams syndrome may be secondary to more general problems in visuo-spatial processing in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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