The Organization and Development of Spatial Representation: Insights from Williams Syndrome

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter uses the case of Williams syndrome (WS) to provide insight into the nature of human spatial representation and its development under normal circumstances. The chapter has four sections. The first starts with a discussion of the hallmark pattern of spatial breakdown observed in people with WS when they carry out visuoconstructive tasks, such as drawing and block construction. The second and third sections document aspects of the WS profile. The fourth section proposes a speculative hypothesis on how the cognitive profile in WS emerges, emphasizing the role of developmental time tables in the emergence of normal spatial cognitive profiles as well as the WS profile. This hypothesis provides a new way of thinking about the relationships among genes, brains, and minds in spatial cognitive development. It moves us away from a static and simplistic view of how genetic differences might cause cognitive differences, and toward a view that emphasizes the role of normal development and developmental timetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Development
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940448
ISBN (Print)9780195305012
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Cognitive profile
  • Human spatial representations
  • Spatial breakdown
  • Williams syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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