Approachability and the amygdala: Insights from Williams syndrome

Martens, Marilee A., Wilson, Sarah J., Dudgeon, Paul and Reutens, David C. (2009) Approachability and the amygdala: Insights from Williams syndrome. Neuropsychologia, 47 12: 2446-2453. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.04.017

Author Martens, Marilee A.
Wilson, Sarah J.
Dudgeon, Paul
Reutens, David C.
Title Approachability and the amygdala: Insights from Williams syndrome
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2009-05-03
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.04.017
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 47
Issue 12
Start page 2446
End page 2453
Total pages 8
Editor A R Mayes
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject 11 Medical and Health Sciences
1109 Neurosciences
Abstract Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder in which hypersociability is a characteristic feature. Given that the amygdala has been identified as an integral component of the neural system underlying sociability, researchers have suggested that the abnormal amygdala volumes found in individuals with WS may play a role in their hypersociability. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between amygdala volume and hypersociability, as measured by approachability ratings, in 22 individuals with WS and 22 normal controls matched on chronological age, sex, and handedness. We confirmed previous findings of increased amygdala volumes and higher approachability ratings of both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ faces in individuals with WS. A positive relationship between right amygdala volume and approachability ratings was found in individuals with WS, particularly ratings of ‘negative’ faces. The results unexpectedly revealed that individuals with WS report using features other than the eyes and mouth to determine approachability, particularly when they are younger. These findings support the theory that amygdala dysfunction in WS is related to their hypersociability. Furthermore, we propose that individuals with WS use atypical cognitive strategies compared to controls to determine approachability.
Keyword Williams syndrome
Congenital Adrenal-hyperplasia
Neurodevelopmental Disorder
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 17:43:33 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Centre For Magnetic Resonance