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Beyond the conservative hypothesis: a meta-analysis of lexical-semantic processing in Williams syndrome

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2023

Carlos Romero-Rivas*
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Sara Rodríguez-Cuadrado
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Lucía Sabater
Affiliation:
Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, Logroño, Spain
Pablo Rodríguez Gómez
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
Irene Hidalgo de la Guía
Affiliation:
Department of Spanish and Literature Theory, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Eva M. Moreno
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain Faculty of Languages and Education, Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid, Spain
Elena Garayzábal Heinze
Affiliation:
Department of General Linguistics, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
*
Corresponding author: Carlos Romero-Rivas; Email: carlos.romeror@uam.es

Abstract

Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic disorder, characterised at the cognitive level by a phenotypic pattern of relative weaknesses (e.g., visuospatial skills) and strengths (e.g., some linguistic and nonverbal reasoning skills). In this study, we performed a systematic search and meta-analysis on lexical-semantic processing in WS, an area of knowledge in which contradictory results have been obtained. We found 42 studies matching our criteria, and, in total, 78 effect sizes were included in the meta-analysis. Results showed that individuals with WS have worse lexical-semantic skills than individuals with typical development, whether matched by chronological or mental age. However, people with WS have better lexical-semantic skills than people diagnosed with other cognitive disabilities. Finally, vocabulary skills seem to be relatively spared in WS, although they present some difficulties in semantic processing/integration, semantic memory organisation and verbal working memory skills. Taken together, these results support a neuroconstructivist approach, according to which the cognitive mechanisms involved in lexical-semantic processing may be modulated, even when performance in some tasks (i.e., vocabulary tasks) might be optimal.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

This article was originally published with errors in the affiliations of two authors. The article has been updated and an erratum published at https://doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2023.33.

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