Face scanning and spontaneous emotion preference in Cornelia de Lange syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Coventry University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Multisensory Perception and Action Group, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany; Cognitive Neuroscience Department and Cognitive Interaction Technology-Center of Excellence, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Center for Autism Research
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


BACKGROUND: Existing literature suggests differences in face scanning in individuals with different socio-behavioural characteristics. Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS) are two genetically defined neurodevelopmental disorders with unique profiles of social behaviour.

METHODS: Here, we examine eye gaze to the eye and mouth regions of neutrally expressive faces, as well as the spontaneous visual preference for happy and disgusted facial expressions compared to neutral faces, in individuals with CdLS versus RTS.

RESULTS: Results indicate that the amount of time spent looking at the eye and mouth regions of faces was similar in 15 individuals with CdLS and 17 individuals with RTS. Both participant groups also showed a similar pattern of spontaneous visual preference for emotions.

CONCLUSIONS: These results provide insight into two rare, genetically defined neurodevelopmental disorders that have been reported to exhibit contrasting socio-behavioural characteristics and suggest that differences in social behaviour may not be sufficient to predict attention to the eye region of faces. These results also suggest that differences in the social behaviours of these two groups may be cognitively mediated rather than subcortically mediated.


Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015


  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Emotion preference, Eye gaze, Eye-tracking, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome