Face scanning and spontaneous emotion preference in Cornelia de Lange syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome

Hayley Crawford, J. Moss, J.P. McCleery, G.M. Anderson, C. Oliver

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    Background: Existing literature suggests differences in face scanning in individuals with different socio-behavioural characteristics. Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS) are two genetically defined neurodevelopmental disorders with unique profiles of social behaviour. Methods: Here, we examine eye gaze to the eye and mouth regions of neutrally expressive faces, as well as the spontaneous visual preference for happy and disgusted facial expressions compared to neutral faces, in individuals with CdLS versus RTS. Results: Results indicate that the amount of time spent looking at the eye and mouth regions of faces was similar in 15 individuals with CdLS and 17 individuals with RTS. Both participant groups also showed a similar pattern of spontaneous visual preference for emotions. Conclusions: These results provide insight into two rare, genetically defined neurodevelopmental disorders that have been reported to exhibit contrasting socio-behavioural characteristics and suggest that differences in social behaviour may not be sufficient to predict attention to the eye region of faces. These results also suggest that differences in the social behaviours of these two groups may be cognitively mediated rather than subcortically mediated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22
    JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


    Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Number: ES/I901825/1)


    • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
    • Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome
    • Eye-tracking
    • Emotion preference
    • Eye gaze


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