Social behaviour and social cognition in Fragile X, Cornella de Lange and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes

Crawford, Hayley Rhiannon (2015). Social behaviour and social cognition in Fragile X, Cornella de Lange and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Social behaviour is critical to successful functioning in life. Across a series of studies, aspects of social behaviour and social cognition were explored in Fragile X (FXS), Cornelia de Lange (CdLS), and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes (RTS). Experimentally manipulated social situations revealed that heightened social anxiety, which was not mediated by changes in the social environment, was evident in FXS and RTS, whilst social anxiety in CdLS was governed by the social demands of a situation. These differences were evident despite social motivation being comparable across all groups. A further study documents the use of a novel eye-tracking paradigm, which successfully differentiates between FXS, CdLS and RTS in attentional priority for social information, mirroring the profile of similarities and differences in social behaviour highlighted in the behavioural study. A FXS-related aversion for looking to the eye region of faces was also revealed using eye-tracking technology. These findings highlight the merit of experimental manipulation when utilising both implicit and observational measures to investigate social behaviour and cognition in genetic disorder. Furthermore, the empirical work reported here furthers understanding of the behavioural and cognitive aspects of the social phenotypes of FXS, CdLS and RTS and highlights theoretical implications for the dissociation of social anxiety and social motivation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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