Tag Archives: Williams syndrome

Beats me why people are designing a computer program to do stuff that a super-recognizer could do standing on their head

Why, why, why do people assume that we need computers to do clever and sophisticated things in face recognition and face perception? Our brains have evolved over millions of years to do this stuff, and some people are even better at this stuff than the amazing feats of visual perception that the average Joe can do with barely a thought or effort.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25776-computer-spots-rare-diseases-in-family-photos.html#.U6mtSvmSx8E

If Abraham Lincoln had Marfan syndrome, identifiable through his facial appearance, then I guess that means that the Australian politician who was identified as a Lincoln double on the TV show Insiders must have it too.

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? Abraham Lincoln

How many other politicians can you think of who could recycle that witty remark?

Jokes aside, its worth taking a look at the larger image of the group of faces in the magazine article, because they change in ways that I find quite fascinating and familiar. Which one do you think looks the most like Alfred E. Neuman? I think the right-edge lower row.

New paper about Williams syndrome and face processing

Cashon, Cara, Ha, Oh-Reyong, DeNicola, Christopher, Mervis, Carolyn Toddlers with Williams Syndrome Process Upright but not Inverted Faces Holistically. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI10.1007/s10803-013-1804-0  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-013-1804-0

It sounds interesting that toddlers with Williams syndrome have “extreme interest in faces from a very young age”, but I just want to know how the performance of these toddlers compares with the abilities of toddlers without Williams syndrome. If interest isn’t reflected in superior performance that might be interesting in itself, I guess, but it would be more interesting if there was a definite relationship between interest and perrformance.

Wish I had time to read this – journal paper from last year about Williams syndrome, music and synesthesia or synaesthesia-like experiences

What exactly do people who have Williams syndrome experience when they listen to music?

 

Auditory Attraction: Activation of visual cortex by music and sound in Williams syndrome.

Tricia A. Thornton-Wells, Chris J. Cannistraci, Adam Anderson, Chai-Youn Kim, Mariam Eapen, John C. Gore, Randolph Blake, and Elisabeth M. Dykens
Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 March 1.
PMCID: PMC2862007

Published in final edited form as: Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2010 March; 115(2): 172–189. doi: 10.1352/1944-7588-115.172.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862007/

 

Just found interesting paper about Williams syndrome and the fusiform face area

It appears that having a fusiform face area (FFA) that is twice the normal size does not give people with Williams syndrome (WS) super powers of face recognition or expression recognition, but I’m not sure we can be completely sure that people with Williams do not have any special gift in reading faces, as other researchers have found fault with the test that was used in this study to measure face recognition ability. Williams syndrome is a genetic syndrome that is associated with  intellectual deficits, “heightened emotionality”, “hypersociability” and a special love of music. Dr Oliver Sacks wrote an interesting chapter about Williams syndrome in his book Musicophilia. I do not have Williams syndrome, and this syndrome does not run in my family. One thing that I do believe that I and some family members share in common with people who have Williams syndrome is our great love of music, despite a lack of musical education or training.

“The atypically large FFA volume that we found in WS was positively correlated with apparently normal performance levels on a standardized face-identity recognition task (Benton test) in the same participants. This finding is analogous to electrophysiological reports of atypically large N200 in WS, which is correlated with performance on the Benton test (Mills et al., 2000). However, in our experiments, the correlation between rFFA size and Benton scores reached statistical significance only after excluding two WS participants with the noisiest BOLD signals. The similarity in the mean performance across TD and WS in the Benton test may be due to insufficient sensitivity of the Benton test in detecting subtle variations in face-recognition proficiency (Duchaine and Nakayama, 2004).”

Has anyone ever done a study in which people who have Williams syndrome have been given the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT)? I’d love to read that.

Golijeh Golarai, Sungjin Hong, Brian W. Haas, Albert M. Galaburda, Debra L. Mills, Ursula Bellugi, Kalanit Grill-Spector & Allan L. Reiss The Fusiform Face Area is Enlarged in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Neuroscience. 12 May 2010, 30(19): 6700-6712; doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.4268-09.2010
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/19/6700.full

Duchaine, Bradley & Nakayama, Ken Developmental prosopagnosia and the Benton Facial Recognition Test. Neurology. April 13, 2004 vol. 62 no. 7 1219-1220. doi: 10.1212/01.WNL.0000118297.03161.B3 http://www.neurology.org/content/62/7/1219.abstract

“The Benton Facial Recognition Test is used for clinical and research purposes, but evidence suggests that it is possible to pass the test with impaired face discrimination abilities.”