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J Exp Child Psychol. 2009 Apr;102(4):456-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2008.11.005. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

A cross-syndrome study of the development of holistic face recognition in children with autism, Down syndrome, and Williams syndrome.

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1
Developmental Neurocognition Lab, School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, UK. d.annaz@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

We report a cross-syndrome comparison of the development of holistic processing in face recognition in school-aged children with developmental disorders: autism, Down syndrome, and Williams syndrome. The autism group was split into two groups: one with high-functioning children and one with low-functioning children. The latter group has rarely been studied in this context. The four disorder groups were compared with typically developing children. Cross-sectional trajectory analyses were used to compare development in a modified version of Tanaka and Farah's part-whole task. Trajectories were constructed linking part-whole performance either to chronological age or to several measures of mental age (receptive vocabulary, visuospatial construction, and the Benton Facial Recognition Test). In addition to variable delays in onset and rate of development, we found an atypical profile in all disorder groups. These profiles were atypical in different ways, indicating multiple pathways to, and variable outcomes in, the development of face recognition. We discuss the implications for theories of face recognition in both atypical and typical development, including the idea that part-whole and rotation manipulations may tap different aspects of holistic and/or configural processing.

PMID:
19193384
DOI:
10.1016/j.jecp.2008.11.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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