Prader-Willi Syndrome and Jigsaw Puzzles: Putting the Pieces Together
Verdine, Brian Nicholas
This thesis will present a study exploring visual-spatial cognition and its relationship to puzzling ability in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). A mental-age matched normally developing sample will serve as a control group in this study. In the general introduction, I will explain why visual-spatial cognition is important and will outline the aims of the study. It will also include a succinct discussion of the interesting cognitive profile of individuals with PWS. The introduction will be followed by an overview of relevant visual-spatial cognition literature and a more thorough description of PWS, including the causes and more information about its cognitive profiles. The measures section will describe the battery of tests to be used, designed to be appropriate for a broad spectrum of spatial abilities characterized by varying levels of analytical and perceptual complexity. The results from the study will add to the sparse body of research involving visual-spatial cognition in individuals with PWS, will add to our currently available knowledge of visual-spatial cognition in normal children. The data from this study suggests that individuals with PWS have a different way of processing the information available on puzzle pieces and may have a strong ability to use local cues (namely shape) to guide piece placement. This tendency appears to be in lieu of the typically developing groups’ tendency to globally integrate the pieces to make a coherent picture. Future research will look at part-whole integration in individuals with PWS to determine if these strategy differences are caused by underlying differences in ability.