Egocentric and allocentric spatial representations in Williams syndrome.J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jan; 19(1):54-62.JI
Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severe visuospatial deficits, particularly affecting spatial navigation and wayfinding. Creating egocentric (viewer-dependent) and allocentric (viewer-independent) representations of space is essential for the development of these abilities. However, it remains unclear whether egocentric and allocentric representations are impaired in WS. In this study, we investigate egocentric and allocentric frames of reference in this disorder. A WS group (n = 18), as well as a chronological age-matched control group (n = 20), a non-verbal mental age-matched control group (n = 20) and a control group with intellectual disability (n = 17), was tested with a computerized and a 3D spatial judgment task. The results showed that WS participants are impaired when performing both egocentric and allocentric spatial judgments even when compared with mental age-matched control participants. This indicates that a substantial deficit affecting both spatial representations is present in WS. The egocentric impairment is in line with the dorsal visual pathway deficit previously reported in WS. Interestingly, the difficulties found in performing allocentric spatial judgments give important cues to better understand the ventral visual functioning in WS.