In Brief: Williams syndrome in Japan: The interplay of genetics and culture

In Brief

Williams syndrome in Japan: The interplay of genetics and culture

A comparison of Japanese and American children with the rare developmental disorder called Williams syndrome shows how social context modifies the effect of temperament on personality and behavior.

The disorder is caused by the absence of a stretch of 20 genes on chromosome 7. Among its symptoms, which usually include mental retardation, one is particularly striking — extreme gregariousness and indiscriminate friendliness, especially toward strangers.

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