Perceiving facial and vocal expressions of emotion in individuals with Williams syndrome

Am J Ment Retard. 2006 Jan;111(1):15-26. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(2006)111[15:PFAVEO]2.0.CO;2.


People with Williams syndrome are extremely sociable, empathic, and expressive in communication. Some researchers suggest they may be especially sensitive to perceiving emotional expressions. We administered the Faces and Paralanguage subtests of the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy Scale (DANVA2), a standardized measure of emotion recognition for basic emotions to three groups: adolescents and adults with Williams syndrome, age and IQ-matched participants with learning/intellectual disability, and age-matched nonimpaired controls. The Williams syndrome and learning/intellectual disability groups performed significantly worse than the typically developing controls on both subtests, especially on negative emotions. Error analysis indicated the same general pattern of performance across versions and subtests of the DANVA2 for all groups. These findings suggest that emotion recognition is not spared in Williams syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Child
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications
  • Male
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Perception*
  • Williams Syndrome / complications*