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Face processing in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: atypical development and visual scanning alterations

Zaharia, A; Schneider, M; Glaser, B; Franchini, M; Menghetti, S; Schaer, M; Debbané, M; (2018) Face processing in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: atypical development and visual scanning alterations. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders , 10 , Article 26. 10.1186/s11689-018-9245-x. Green open access

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BACKGROUND: Previous research links social difficulties to atypical face exploration in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS). Two types of face processing are distinguished: configural (CFP) and featural (FFP). CFP develops later in life and plays an important role in face and emotion recognition abilities. Recent studies reported atypical development of CFP in several neurodevelopmental disorders. Taking previous reports of atypical face exploration one step further, our study aims at characterizing face processing in children and adolescents with 22q11.2DS. First, we sought to identify biases in the first two fixation positions on faces and to detect differences between CFP and FFP in 22q11.2DS using eye-tracking technology. Second, we investigated the developmental trajectories of CFP and FFP using accuracy data from follow-up evaluation. METHODS: Seventy-five individuals with 22q11.2DS and 84 typically developed (TD) individuals (aged 6-21 years) completed a discrimination task ("Jane task") inducing CFP and FFP in an eye-tracking setting. Thirty-six individuals with 22q11DS and 30 TD from our sample completed a longitudinal follow-up evaluation. RESULTS: Findings revealed that individuals with 22q11.2DS demonstrate an early bias toward the mouth region during the initial fixations on the faces and reduced flexibility exploration of the faces, with a reduced number of transitions between faces and longer fixations compared to the TD group. Further, scanpaths did not differ between CFP and FFP in the 22q11.2DS group. Longitudinal analysis of accuracy data provided evidence for atypical development of CFP in 22q11.2DS. CONCLUSIONS: The current study brings new evidence of altered face exploration in 22q11.2DS and identifies developmental mechanisms that may contribute to difficulties impacting social interactions in the syndrome.

Type: Article
Title: Face processing in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: atypical development and visual scanning alterations
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s11689-018-9245-x
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s11689-018-9245-x
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Configural face processing, Eye-tracking, Featural face processing, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Social difficulties
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056099
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