Current Projects

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SAGA (Social Games for Adolescents with Autism): This intervention project is now being funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The goal of this study is to improve social skills following computer-based training for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We utilize behavioral tests and questionnaires, as well as an immersive, highly engaging computer game that participants play over several months. The computer-training participants complete involves learning to recognize novel objects or faces, including nonverbal expressions like pointing, eye gaze cues, or emotional expressions. Our hope is that the game could help alleviate some of the social symptoms of autism and help people with autism function in a more independent way. For undergraduate game developers, programmers, and visual artists interested in working on this project, click here!

The Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience at Penn State is looking for 10- to 17-year-olds with an autism spectrum disorder to try a new video game designed to improve social skills. Interested? Contact the study team at 814-863-5626 or send an email to psu.asd.gameintervention@gmail.com.

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The development of face processing in children & adolescents: The purpose of this study is to learn more about how perception and brain function vary in typically developing children and adolescents, particularly when they look at pictures of human faces.  The purpose is to see how face processing behavior, such as face recognition and emotion recognition improves with age and pubertal development. We hope that the information gathered will help lead to a better understanding about individual variations in the nature of face and emotion recognition in typically developing children.

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Investigating face processing behavior & neural circuitry: The purpose of the study is to learn more about how perception and brain function vary in typically developing adults, particularly when they look at pictures of human faces. This study involves using computer tests, surveys and fMRI that help us measure how well participants remember faces, perceive small variations in faces, and detect emotions in facial expressions. We hope that these studies will lead to better understanding about individual variations in the nature of brain functioning in typically developing adults.