Visual perception and processing in children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: associations with social cognition measures of face identity and emotion recognition
For many years now, Kathryn McCabe and I have been exploring social functioning among people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome together with our colleagues.
It has been reported that many people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) have difficulty processing social information including recognising faces and recognising facial expressions of emotions. However, difficulties with visual and attentional processes may play a role in difficulties observed with these social cognitive skills. In this study, which was part of my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London, I met with 49 children and adolescents with 22q11DS and 30 of their siblings from all over the UK. Over three days we worked our way through a lot of different tasks and some of them focused on how these young people processed faces and objects. With Kathryn's help we analysed the data and found that, compared to their siblings, the young people with 22q11DS had problems with perceptual processes related to how they perceived forms and shapes as well as the recognition of objects from unusual angles and faces. This has important implications for young people with the syndrome and can help explain why some of these young people have problems with social interactions. However, it also indicates that social problems are not uniquely affected but might be a symptom of more global problems with perception. Visual perception and processing, like ocular abnormalities, also impact learning, reading ability and other day-to-day functions. For instance, it might explain some of the problems that young people with the syndrome have when finding their way around. Anecdotally, many young people with the syndrome get lost easily and this could be linked to a poorer ability to recognise familiar landmarks when seen from unusual angles. Another example might be that children with the deletion have difficulty reading words in smaller fonts, but may find it a little easier when they are enlarged and there is more space between letters and words.
If you want to read the study click on the link below;
Citation: McCabe, K. L., Marlin, S., Cooper, G., Morris, R., Schall, U., Murphy, D. G., ... & Campbell, L. E. (2016). Visual perception and processing in children with 22q11. 2 deletion syndrome: associations with social cognition measures of face identity and emotion recognition. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 8(1), 30.