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Hearing the feeling: Auditory emotion perception in Williams Syndrome

Heaton, P.; Ridley, E.; Makhmood, S.; Riby, D.M.

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P. Heaton

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Ellen Ridley
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

S. Makhmood


Background Studies investigating recognition of facial expressions of emotions in Williams syndrome (WS) have reported difficulties in recognising negative expressions of emotion and a reliance on atypically developing underlying processes during task performance. Aim The aim of the study was to extend these findings to the recognition of emotions in auditory domains. Method and procedures Children and adolescents with WS, together with chronological (CA) and verbal mental age matched (VMA) typically developing (TD) comparison groups, were asked to judge expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear in vocal and musical conditions. Outcomes and results Total emotion recognition scores did not differ between WS and VMA matched groups but profiles of discrimination across emotion categories were markedly different. For all groups, the accessibility of emotion category cues differed across music and speech domains. The results suggested that emotion discrimination is more strongly linked with cognitive ability in WS than in TD. Conclusions and implications Although WS and TD groups showed a significantly different profile of discrimination across emotion categories, similarities in the pattern of discrimination across domains and in the correlates of auditory emotion processing were observed. The results are discussed in the context of typical and atypical developmental trajectories and compensatory mechanisms in WS.


Heaton, P., Ridley, E., Makhmood, S., & Riby, D. (2020). Hearing the feeling: Auditory emotion perception in Williams Syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, Article 103660.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2020
Online Publication Date May 21, 2020
Publication Date Aug 31, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2021
Journal Research in Developmental Disabilities
Print ISSN 0891-4222
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number 103660


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