Previous studies have reported that people with the neurodevelopmental disorder Williams syndrome exhibit difficulties with visuomotor control. In the current study, we examined the extent to which visuomotor deficits were associated with movement planning or feedback-based on-line control. We used a variant of the Fitts' reciprocal aiming task on a computerized touchscreen in adults with WS, IQ-matched individuals with Down syndrome (DS), and typically developing controls. By manipulating task difficulty both as a function of target size and amplitude, we were able to vary the requirements for accuracy to examine processes associated with dorsal visual stream and cerebellar functioning. Although a greater increase in movement time as a function of task difficulty was observed in the two clinical groups with WS and DS, greater magnitude in the late kinematic components of movement-specifically, time after peak velocity-was revealed in the WS group during increased demands for accuracy. In contrast, the DS group showed a greater speed-accuracy trade-off with significantly reduced and more variable endpoint accuracy, which may be associated with cerebellar deficits. In addition, the WS group spent more time stationary in the target when task-related features reflected a higher level of difficulty, suggestive of specific deficits in movement planning. Our results indicate that the visuomotor coordination deficits in WS may reflect known impairments of the dorsal stream, but may also indicate a role for the cerebellum in dynamic feed-forward motor control.
- Dorsal stream
- Williams syndrome