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

Research

Research Overview

In the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience (LDN) we utilize the face processing domain as a way to better understand how typically developing individuals and those affected by social-emotional disorders (particularly autism) perceive and interpret social signals. Specifically, we conduct research with children, adolescents and adults to understand developmental changes in face processing abilities, face recognition biases, the ability to detect facial expressions, and how face recognition ability is related to neural activation.

 

We also design computerized interventions to help improve these abilities for adolescents with autism. We employ a variety of methodologies to answer these questions which include behavioral measures, eye tracking, and neuroimaging techniques.

 

DASH Project

Development of Adolescent Social Health

The DASH project is a 5-year active project in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience funded by the National Institute of Health. DASH is a longitudinal investigation of pubertal effects on social development and the way the brain processes faces of peers and adults. Families of typically-developing children and adolescents come to the lab for several visits to do computer games, physical exams, and brain scans. We also test emerging adults as well.

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SAGA Project

Social Games for Adolescents with Autism

The SAGA project is an ongoing study in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience. SAGA is 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 eye-tracking tasks, behavioral tests and questionnaires, as well as an immersive, highly engaging computer game that participants play over several months. 

FREA Project

Face Recognition in Emerging Adults

The FREA project is a study focused on understanding the reasons why people vary in their ability to recognize faces as young adults.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about the FREA project, please send an email to scherflab@psu.edu

BAP Projects

Broader Autism Phenotypes

In these projects, we are measuring how Autism-like traits in the general population are associated with differences in multiple kinds of face processing behaviors, such as face recognition and emotion processing.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about the BAP projects, please send an email to scherflab@psu.edu