Auditory Cortical Volumes and Musical Ability in Williams Syndrome
Individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) have been shown to have atypical morphology in the auditory cortex, an area associated with aspects of musicality. Some individuals with WS have demonstrated specific musical abilities, despite intellectual delays. Primary auditory cortex and planum temporale volumes were manually segmented in 25 individuals with WS and 25 control participants, and the participants also underwent testing of musical abilities. Left and right planum temporale volumes were significantly larger in the participants with WS than in controls, with no significant difference noted between groups in planum temporale asymmetry or primary auditory cortical volumes. Left planum temporale volume was significantly increased in a subgroup of the participants with WS who demonstrated specific musical strengths, as compared to the remaining WS participants, and was highly correlated with scores on a musical task. These findings suggest that differences in musical ability within WS may be in part associated with variability in the left auditory cortical region, providing further evidence of cognitive and neuroanatomical heterogeneity within this syndrome.