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Egocentric and allocentric navigation strategies in Williams Syndrome and typical development

Broadbent, Hannah and Farran, Emily and Tolmie, Andrew (2014) Egocentric and allocentric navigation strategies in Williams Syndrome and typical development. Developmental Science. ISSN 1363-755X. DOI UNSPECIFIED (In Press)

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Recent findings suggest that difficulties on small-scale visuospatial tasks documented in Williams syndrome (WS) also extend to large-scale space. In particular, individuals with WS often present with difficulties in allocentric spatial coding (encoding relationships between items within an environment or array). This study examined the effect of atypical spatial processing in WS on large-scale navigational strategies, using a novel 3D virtual environment. During navigation of recently-learnt large-scale space, typically developing (TD) children predominantly rely on the use of a sequential egocentric strategy (recalling the sequence of left-right body turns throughout a route), but become more able to use an allocentric strategy between 5-10 years of age. The navigation strategies spontaneously employed by TD children between 5 and 10 years of age and individuals with WS were analysed. The ability to use an allocentric strategy on trials where spatial relational knowledge was required to find the shortest route was also examined. Results showed that, unlike TD children, during spontaneous navigation the WS group did not predominantly employ a sequential egocentric strategy. Instead, individuals with WS followed the path until the correct environmental landmarks were found, suggesting the use of a time-consuming and inefficient view-matching strategy for wayfinding. Individuals with WS also presented with deficits in allocentric spatial coding, demonstrated by difficulties in determining short-cuts when required and difficulties developing a mental representation of the environment layout. This was found even following extensive experience in an environment, suggesting that – unlike in typical development – experience cannot contribute to the development of spatial relational processing in WS. This atypical presentation of both egocentric and allocentric spatial encoding is discussed in relation to specific difficulties on small-scale spatial tasks and known atypical cortical development in WS.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 13:13
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:09
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