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

By Francesca eFoti, Francesca eFoti, Stefano eSdoia, Deny eMenghini, Laura eMandolesi, Laura eMandolesi, Stefano eVicari, Fabio eFerlazzo and Laura ePetrosini and Laura ePetrosini


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 (TD) 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

Topics: Executive Function, spatial navigation, Spatial Ability, Visuospatial task-switching, verbal task-switching, Psychology, BF1-990
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00287
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