NEURAL PROCESSES

 

Our research approach involves the characterization of neural processing in the brain, through the use of psychophysiological and cognitive neuroscience methods.  Psychophysiological methods such as electrophysiology can provide insight into the functioning of populations with limited verbal ability, such as preverbal infants, or children with language difficulties. Further, they provide a means to characterize the interaction between physiology, cognition, and observed behavior. This is central to our understanding of emotion, attention, and social learning. 


Our current work focuses on several areas of investigation, which we are examining across the developmental spectrum.  For example, we use event-related potentials to characterize the temporal profile of neural responses to visual stimuli.  We also use electrophysiology to characterize the cortical dynamics of brain function, including analyses of spectral power and functional connectivity.  Event-related potentials, electrophysiology, and neuropsychological measures can then be combined to explore the neural correlates of key social skills such as face recognition or imitation.  Together, this research has characterized patterns of atypical neural processing in ASD that are distinct from those observed in individuals with global developmental delays.  We are currently exploring whether these patterns can also be observed in family members of individuals with ASD (see endophenotypes), or whether these patterns may provide early risk markers for ASD in the infancy period (see early development).