Norm of reaction and Williams Syndrome

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Despite the differences in upbringing, in both countries children with Williams syndrome were rated significantly higher in global sociability and their tendency to approach strangers than were their typically developing counterparts. But cultural expectations clearly influenced social behavior, since the sociability of normal American kids was on par with Japanese Williams syndrome kids, whose social behavior is considered out of bounds in their native country.

Norm of reaction “describes the pattern of phenotypic expression of a single genotype across a range of environments.” So it seems there is a weakness in this study: Americans (mostly of European ancestry) do not share the same genetic background as Japanese. So a better test would be Japanese American children with Williams Syndrome vs. Japanese.


  1. posts for such a fascinating syndrome? 
    I got nothing of substance to add but Id just like to “Bump” this post :) 
    I think I first read about Williams Syndrome in Thomas Sowell’s book “The Einstein Syndrome”.  
    Williams syndrome people are people who are intellectually retarded but hyper-hyper-hyper-socially gifted.  
    Very very curious anomaly.

  2. Oops….sorry about the nick.  
    The above is my post.

  3. posts for such a fascinating syndrome? 
    It lacks the racist slant needed to titillate the usual brawlers. 
    Let’s add it : 
    Does the “sociability skew”, which is strong enough to curb the japanese Williams syndrome toward American normalcy only of cultural origin or does it involve some other genetic influence?

  4. I live in “Williams world,” as my 2-year-old son has it. I never once thought about how it would be to live with this devastating syndrome in another cultural setting until now. WS children vary in severity as far as mental retardation goes and can be taught to act appropriately in social settings. Their mental retardation is also extremely “asymmetric,” as they have great strengths (language, for one) as well as huge deficiencies in abilities.