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Investigators Current Studies Perspectives Program intervention for adults ASSET-Adolescent Social-emotional Skills Enhancement Training ADDIRC and Emotion Dysregulation Completed Studies Infant Siblings of ASD Children Categorization in Children & Adults With Autism Emotion Processing Imaging/fMRI Autism Treatment Network Autism Task Force


Development of Categorization and Facial Knowledge in Low and High Functioning Autism

The purpose of the infant sibling project, Pittsburgh Early Autism Study (PEAS), is to understand the development of object processing, communication and motor skills in infants, 5-22months old, who may be at heightened risk for autism because they have an older sibling with autism. The research procedures are simple and only require having the babies look at pictures and movies while we watch their eyes and record where they are looking.
The third element of this project is studying how individuals with high-functioning autism learn about the world, including their knowledge of objects, categories, and people. The research is examining how autism impacts the ability of individuals to process cognitive information.

This project is studying infants

Disturbances of Affective Contact: Development of Brain Mechanisms for Emotion Processing

The purpose of this study is to focus on elucidating emotion processing mechanisms and the maturational disturbances from childhood through adulthood; these studies will clarify how individual with autism experience, understand and regulate emotion, and will also examine their self-awareness of emotion. Genetic modifiers of emotionality will also be determined. The characterization of the development of brain mechanisms for emotion processing remains a critical and largely unmet challenge, with few studies exploring this in individuals with and without autism throughout childhood.
This project is studying children.

Systems Connectivity & Brain Activation: Imaging Studies of Language & Perception

The purpose of this study is to focus on understanding disturbances in functional brain connectivity that underlie the impaired processing of information and in turn the cognitive and behavioral impairments in autism. The project also includes innovation machine-learning studies of how the brain identifies and categorizes words and computational modeling of cortical function.
The overriding aim of this project is to relate the major symptoms of autism to abnormalities in their neural substrates, providing a neural systems-level analysis of autism, and focusing on neural systems connectivity. The primary method will be to perform fMRI studies of several different types of thinking to obtain information about underlying brain function, and to simultaneously acquire information about the size and integrity of brain tissues. The fMRI studies will provide information about cortical activation, but also about functional connectivity or the synchronization of the activation between areas.

This project is studying adults.


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2006 CeFAR at the University of Pittsburgh