Journey from Cognition to Brain to Gene: Perspectives from Williams Syndrome
By: Ursula Bellugi
A blueprint for the investigation of neurodevelopmental disorders, this book presents the work of a team of scientists using a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to link genes with human behaviour. Using Williams Syndrome as a model, leading researchers in neuroanatomy, neurocognition, neurophysiology, and molecular genetics have built bridges between disciplines to link higher cognitive functions, their underlying neurobiological bases, and their molecular genetic underpinnings. The scientists from each discipline studied the same individuals with Williams Syndrome. As the book shows, Williams Syndrome is a fascinating disorder because of the peaks and valleys among cognitive domains: severe intellectual deficits but remarkably spared and effusive language; specific impairment in spatial construction but great strength in face processing and sociability. By capitalizing on these dissociations in higher cognitive functioning, the book provides a model for the study of brain-behaviour relationships as well as for the mapping of brain and behaviour phenotypes to the genome and beyond.