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Dr. Webb’s research focuses on the functional neurobiology and development of information processing in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders, as well as in individuals with typical development. She currently uses EEG, event-related potentials (ERPs), eye-tracking, and behavioral measures to study how children encode, store, and retrieve information about visual images such as faces, and how these processes are impacted by developmental disruptions.
One of Webb’s primary areas of interest is the role of high-frequency EEG activity in information processing, feature binding, attention, and memory. High-frequency EEG activity in the gamma range has been proposed as a fundamental mechanism by which information is coded and integrated in the brain. She has been examining gamma activity in teens with autism and how disruptions may impact cortical connectivity. She is also exploring the role of face processing in disorders such as autism. One of the early signs of autism is the failure of a child to attend to the faces of the individuals in the environment; by middle childhood, children with autism are impaired at face memory and fail to abstract emotional information from faces. Webb’s research explores whether face processing and memory impairments result from a lack of social motivation early in development or represent an independent risk factor for autism. A third line of research investigates the prevalence and characteristics of exceptional abilities and savant skills in individuals with autism.
For more information on Sara Webb's research activities please see:
CHDD Outlook article on using EEGs to research facial processing in children with autism (Summer 2006, page 6)
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