Are the deficits in navigational abilities present in the Williams syndrome related to deficits in the backward inhibition?

Francesca Foti, Stefano Sdoia, Deny Menghini, Laura Mandolesi, Stefano Vicari, Fabio Ferlazzo, Laura Petrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Williams syndrome (WS) is associated with a distinct profile of relatively proficient skills within the verbal domain compared to the severe impairment of visuo-spatial processing. Abnormalities in executive functions and deficits in planning ability and spatial working memory have been described. However, to date little is known about the influence of executive function deficits on navigational abilities in WS. This study aimed at analyzing in WS individuals a specific executive function, the backward inhibition (BI) that allows individuals to flexibly adapt to continuously changing environments. A group of WS individuals and a mental age- and gender-matched group of typically developing children were subjected to three task-switching experiments requiring visuospatial or verbal material to be processed. Results showed that WS individuals exhibited clear BI deficits during visuospatial task-switching paradigms and normal BI effect during verbal task-switching paradigm. Overall, the present results suggest that the BI involvement in updating environment representations during navigation may influence WS navigational abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number287
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Executive function
  • Spatial ability
  • Spatial navigation
  • Verbal task-switching
  • Visuospatial task-switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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