Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience
Associate Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology, Penn State University
113 Moore Building, Penn State University
University Park, PA
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. My approach primarily involves using the face processing system as a model domain. Faces are dynamic stimuli from which we extract many different kinds of information (e.g., gender, age, emotional state, mate potential, social status, trustworthiness, intentions, “person knowledge”). All of these processes must be executed accurately and rapidly for many faces over the course of a single day, making face processing among the most taxing perceptual challenges confronted by people in their day-to-day life. Given that faces are also the pre-eminent social signal, studying developmental changes in the behavioral and brain basis of face processing in typically developing individuals and in those affected by social-emotional disorders may index a core set of developmental changes within the broader social information processing system. I employ converging methodologies, including functional (fMRI) and structural magnetic resonance, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) along with detailed behavioral paradigms in both typically developing populations and those with developmental disorders to examine development from early childhood to adulthood.