The LDN is directed by Dr. Suzy Scherf, Associate Professor of psychology at Penn State University.

We are interested in the typical and atypical development of face processing, particularly as it relates to adolescence and autism.



"My core interests lie in understanding how children and adolescents perceive and interpret social signals and how emerging functional specificity of the developing brain supports this process"

DASH is a project in the LDN funded by the NIMH. We use fMRI to investigate changes in the face processing system as kids and teens progress through puberty.

SAGA is a project in the LDN funded by the NIMH. We are developing an at-home video game as a social intervention for adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

April 14, 2020

One of our graduate students, Junqiang (Jacob) Dai, received the  Raymond Lombra Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research 

in the Social Sciences in recognition of the high quality  contributions his research brings to the social sciences. Jacob received a $1,000 award

and plaque. 

Congratulations Jacob!!

March 17, 2020

The Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State University, Lora Weiss, announced that all face-to-face human subjects research that does not involve direct drug or device therapeutic benefit is to be postponed until further notice, effective March 15, 2020.   As a result, all of our lab-based research protocols are currently suspended. IF you are a research participant currently enrolled in one of our studies, you will be hearing from us directly about next steps. IF you are interested in participating in one of our studies, you can still complete the online screening form (see Research tab) and we will let you know when we can see you in person.

March 2, 2020

Dr Scherf and one of our staff members Maggie Benda recently published a database paper introducing a novel set of face stimuli. The manuscript was published in plos one and can be found  here

Penn State News wrote an article about out this research that can be found here

Congratulations Maggie!!

Nov 8, 2019

Some members of our team got to participate in Radio Park Elementary STEM night, to teach the students a little bit about the brain. We had so much fun. thanks for having us, Radio Park!

Sept 10, 2019

Dr Scherf and one of our LDN Graduate Students Junqiang (Jacob) Dai recently published a comprehensive Meta-analysis examining the link between puberty and functional brain development. The paper was published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and can be found here

Penn State News wrote an article about out this research that can be found here

Congratulations Jacob!!

Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience   |   814-863-5626  |  scherflab@gmail.com  |