Mental state understanding and social interaction

Campos, R. y Sotillo, M. (pendiente de publicación). Mental state understanding and social interaction. En E. K. Farran & A. Karmiloff-Smith (Eds). Neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan: A Neuroconstructivist approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A prominent characteristic of individuals with WS is their hypersociability or overfriendliness. This chapter probed deeper into the social domain to explore mental state understanding and social interaction. Taking a multidisciplinary examination of atypical social behavior, the chapter pointed to atypical structure and functional activation of the amygdala in WS, and to the GTF2I gene. Importantly, the chapter discussed these interactions between brain, genes and behaviour within the context of development and environmental influences. A theme throughout the chapter is the interesting cross-syndrome comparison between WS and autism. On first look, these two disorders seem to present with opposite profiles of social interaction. Yet, in fact, they show both some overlapping and some opposing social abilities. This is yet another striking demonstration that developmental disorders cannot be described in terms of ‘parts intact’ and ‘parts impaired’ and that development can proceed along multiple alternative trajectories.

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