Williams syndrome is a genetic disorder that, it has been claimed, results in an unusual pattern of linguistic strengths and weaknesses. The current study investigated the hypothesis that there is a reduced influence of lexical knowledge on phonological short-term memory in Williams syndrome. Fourteen children with Williams syndrome and 2 vocabulary-matched control groups, 20 typically developing children and 13 children with learning difficulties, were tested on 2 probed serial-recall tasks. On the basis of previous findings, it was predicted that children with Williams syndrome would demonstrate (a) a reduced effect of lexicality on the recall of list items, (b) relatively poorer recall of list items compared with recall of serial order, and (c) a reduced tendency to produce lexicalization errors in the recall of nonwords. In fact, none of these predictions were supported. Alternative explanations for previous findings and implications for accounts of language development in Williams syndrome are discussed.
- Phonological short-term memory
- Vocabulary knowledge
- Williams syndrome