Chapter

Mental state understanding and social interaction

Ruth Campos and María Sotillo

in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594818
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738166 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594818.003.0071

Series: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Mental state understanding and social interaction

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A prominent characteristic of individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) is their hypersociability or overfriendliness. This chapter probed deeper into the social domain to explore mental state understanding and social interaction. It shows that individuals with WS often miss contextual cues in social interactions and that, relatedly, hypersociability can lead to isolation. When basic emotions are considered, individuals with WS are able to attribute expressions of emotions to emotional contexts. However, it is suggested that individuals with WS rely on more superficial cues at the expense of subtle cues. Taking a multidisciplinary examination of atypical social behaviour, the chapter points to atypical structure and functional activation of the amygdala in WS, and to the GTF2I gene. It discusses these interactions between brain, genes, and behaviour within the context of development and environmental influences.

Keywords: hypersociability; Williams syndrome; mental states; psychological functioning; atypical structure

Chapter.  8796 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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