ESPE Abstracts (2016) 86 WG3.4

Face Perception in Turner Syndrome (TS)

Vardit Gepstein


Haifa, Israel


Individuals with TS exhibit a distinct cognitive profile. They show deficits in visual-spatial and visual-motor skills, such as mental rotation, object assembly, design copying, visual memory and attention, deficits in arithmetic abilities, executive function, and some language aspects, such as verbal fluency. Other intellectual capacities, however, are preserved in TS, and in some domains, such as linguistic receptive and expressive abilities, performance is, at times, even superior than that of the general population. Individuals with TS also have poor psychosocial functioning. In childhood, girls with TS have difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, and they are more socially isolated than controls. As adults they have problems with social and partner relationships, and decreased likelihood of independent living and professional achievements that are compatible with their education level. Several studies have found that women with TS are impaired, compared to normal peers, in tasks that examine Theory of Mind (ToM) - the ability to attribute mental states to the behaviour and intention of others. A recent study has examined social competence in young girls with TS. TS girls performed poorly on several measures of social competence, including social awareness, cognition and communication. They were also impaired in the autistic mannerisms scale which includes items such as restricted interests and stereotypic behaviour. One particular area of social functioning, which is the focus of our study, is the impairments of TS individuals in face and emotion perception, yet the face-specific configural and holistic processes that underlie intact face perception appear to function normally. In addition, TS women showed impairments in social cognition, especially when asked to express descriptions of mental states (mentalizing). It remains unknown how such cognitive patterns are dependent on TS-related genetic and hormonal factors.

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