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Previous work has suggested that there are specific deficits in dorsal stream processing in a variety of developmental disorders. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is associated with two main genetic subtypes, deletion and disomy. Relative strengths in visual processing are shown in PWS, although these strengths may be specific to the deletion subtype. We investigated visual processing in PWS using an adapted Simon task which contrasted location (dorsal stream) and shape identity (ventral stream) tasks. Compared to a group of typically developing children, children with PWS deletion showed a greater degree of impairment in the dorsal stream task than in the ventral stream task, a pattern similar to that shown in a group of boys with Fragile-X syndrome. When matched on a measure of non-verbal ability, children with PWS disomy showed the opposite pattern with better performance in the location compared to the shape task, although these task performance asymmetries may have been linked to executive control processes. It is proposed that children with PWS deletion show a relative strength in visual processing in the ventral stream along with a specific deficit in dorsal stream processing. In contrast, children with PWS disomy show neither effect.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2367 - 2373


Adolescent, Analysis of Variance, Child, Chromosome Deletion, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15, Female, Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein, Humans, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Problem Solving, Reaction Time, Space Perception, Visual Pathways, Young Adult