Hyper-reactivity in fragile X syndrome females: Generalised or specific to socially-salient stimuli? A skin conductance study

Tracey A. Williams*, Robyn Langdon, Melanie A. Porter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is characterised by hyper-reactivity, autistic tendencies and social anxiety. It has been hypothesised that the FXS social phenotype is secondary to a generalised hyper-reactivity that leads to social avoidance. No study, however, has investigated whether hyperarousal in FXS is generalised or more specific to socially salient information. We recorded skin conductance responses (SCRs) while females with FXS, as well as chronological age-(CA-) and mental age-(MA-) matched controls, viewed two sets of visual images: direct-gaze emotional faces and affectively arousing scenes. Explicit emotion recognition and subjective ratings of emotions aroused by images were also recorded. Overall, females with FXS displayed hyper-reactivity only when viewing the more socially salient stimuli (emotional faces), compared to CA-matched controls, but not MA-matched controls. Moreover, females with FXS also displayed atypical emotion recognition abilities and subjective ratings of their own emotional states. These findings suggest that any hyper-reactivity observed in FXS may be more specific to socially salient stimuli, rather than generalised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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