A preliminary study of orbitofrontal activation and hypersociability in Williams Syndrome

Masaru Mimura, Fumiko Hoeft, Motoichiro Kato, Nobuhisa Kobayashi, Kristen Sheau, Judith Piggot, Debra Mills, Albert Galaburda, Julie R. Korenberg, Ursula Bellugi, Allan L. Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) demonstrate an abnormally positive social bias. However, the neural substrates of this hypersociability, i. e., positive attribution bias and increased drive toward social interaction, have not fully been elucidated. Methods: We performed an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study while individuals with WS and typically developing controls (TD) matched positive and negative emotional faces. WS compared to TD showed reduced right amygdala activation during presentation of negative faces, as in the previous literature. In addition, WS showed a unique pattern of right orbitofrontal cortex activation. While TD showed medial orbitofrontal cortex activation in response to positive, and lateral orbitofrontal cortex activation to negative, WS showed the opposite pattern. In light of the general notion of a medial/lateral gradient of reward/punishment processing in the orbitofrontal cortex, these findings provide an additional biological explanation for, or correlate of positive attribution bias and hypersociability in WS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Facial emotion
  • Hypersociability
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Williams syndrome
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A preliminary study of orbitofrontal activation and hypersociability in Williams Syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this