Attentional Lapse and Inhibition Control in Adults with Williams Syndrome

Joanna Greer, Deborah Riby, Colin Hamilton, Leigh Riby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Research exploring cognitive processing associated with Williams Syndrome (WS) has suggested that executive functioning deficits exist across the developmental spectrum. Such executive functions include problem solving, planning, dividing attention and inhibiting responses. Within a framework of executive functions, the aim of the current study was to explore attentional lapse and inhibition skills in older adults with WS (n=20; aged 36-61yr) and consider the implications of deficits within this group. Participants with WS were compared to typical adults of the same chronological age and typical older adults (aged 65+yr) to consider attentional changes seen in the ageing process. The study employed a sustained attention to response task known to assess inhibition and attentional lapse but which had not previously been used with this population. Compared to both groups of typical matches, the results indicated atypicalities of attention and inhibition in adults with WS. Specifically, compared to the typical matches, adults with WS failed to withhold a response (showing inhibition deficits), had problems re-engaging attentional control processes after making an error and showed a generalised deficit of concentration and task engagement. We conclude that further attention should be paid to the cognitive capacity of older individuals with WS in order to consider the everyday challenges faced by this group and to provide adequate intervention and support for daily living.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4170-4177
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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