Article

The Organization and Development of Spatial Representation: Insights from Williams Syndrome

Barbara Landau

in The Oxford Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Development

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195305012
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195305012.013.0005

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Organization and Development of Spatial Representation: Insights from Williams Syndrome

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This chapter uses the case of Williams syndrome (WS) to provide insight into the nature of human spatial representation and its development under normal circumstances. The chapter has four sections. The first starts with a discussion of the hallmark pattern of spatial breakdown observed in people with WS when they carry out visuoconstructive tasks, such as drawing and block construction. The second and third sections document aspects of the WS profile. The fourth section proposes a speculative hypothesis on how the cognitive profile in WS emerges, emphasizing the role of developmental time tables in the emergence of normal spatial cognitive profiles as well as the WS profile. This hypothesis provides a new way of thinking about the relationships among genes, brains, and minds in spatial cognitive development. It moves us away from a static and simplistic view of how genetic differences might cause cognitive differences, and toward a view that emphasizes the role of normal development and developmental timetables.

Keywords: Williams syndrome; human spatial representations; spatial breakdown; cognitive profile

Article.  19824 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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