Face scanning and spontaneous emotion preference in Cornelia de Lange syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome
McCleery, Joseph P
Anderson, Giles M
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Abstract 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.