Hyperactive auditory processing in Williams syndrome: Evidence from auditory evoked potentials

Omer Zarchi, Chen Avni, Josef Attias, Amos Frisch, Miri Carmel, Elena Michaelovsky, Tamar Green, Abraham Weizman, Doron Gothelf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neurophysiologic aberrations underlying the auditory hypersensitivity in Williams syndrome (WS) are not well defined. The P1-N1-P2 obligatory complex and mismatch negativity (MMN) response were investigated in 18 participants with WS, and the results were compared with those of 18 age- and gender-matched typically developing (TD) controls. Results revealed significantly higher amplitudes of both the P1-N1-P2 obligatory complex and the MMN response in the WS participants than in the TD controls. The P1-N1-P2 complex showed an age-dependent reduction in the TD but not in the WS participants. Moreover, high P1-N1-P2 complex was associated with low verbal comprehension scores in WS. This investigation demonstrates that central auditory processing is hyperactive in WS. The increase in auditory brain responses of both the obligatory complex and MMN response suggests aberrant processes of auditory encoding and discrimination in WS. Results also imply that auditory processing may be subjected to a delayed or diverse maturation and may affect the development of high cognitive functioning in WS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-789
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research.


  • Auditory processing
  • Evoked response potentials (ERP)
  • Hyperacusis
  • Williams syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • General Neuroscience


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