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Department of Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Alumni

Melanie Porter

Melanie Porter

Thesis Details

The cognitive neuropsychology of Williams Syndrome

This research investigated theory-of-mind, emotion processing, hierarchical processing and neuropsychological functioning in Williams, Autism, Asperger and Down syndrome. Williams Syndrome is a rare condition with characteristic physical and behavioural phenotypes. The Williams Syndrome phenotype is characterised by an uneven cognitive profile with relative strengths in verbal tasks and weaknesses in spatial abilities, and IQs in the 50-60 range. Williams Syndrome represents an example of how intelligence may be broken down into parts through its ‘spared’ and ‘impaired’ intellectual abilities. Along with interesting group comparisons, results indicated that individuals with Williams Syndrome are not a homogeneous population in terms of their cognitive strengths and weaknesses, but rather form subtypes on the basis of their cognitive and intellectual profiles. Future research aims to define the role of the individual genes that contribute to intellectual disability and to specific cognitive processes.

  • Type: PhD
  • Scholarship : Other
  • Supervisors : Professor Max Coltheart and Dr Robyn Langdon

Melanie is also a current member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. For more information on Melanie's research please visit their CCD profile.

Further Information


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