Thank you for your interest in our research. Our lab studies social and emotional behavior and the brain systems that support them. To do this, we use state-of-the-art scientific tools and methods including eye-tracking, MRI, and sophisticated behavioral assessment.

Our research includes participants from the general community, as well as individuals with autism, agenesis of the corpus callosum, and brain lesions.  All participants are compensated for the time that they commit to our studies.  Compensation is determined by length of time and type of experiment and may range from $15 to $50 per hour.

Interested in participating? Take our eligibility survey today!

Testing Methods We Use

Our lab uses several different research tools to study social and emotional processing. Here are brief descriptions of the types of activities research participants might be asked to do:

  • Behavioral studies. Many of our behavioral studies involve observing something on a computer screen and responding to what you see using button presses or just by looking at it. We also conduct a variety of surveys regarding participants’ behavior, attitudes, emotions, and mood.
  • MRI studies. In some of our experiments, we use MRI to examine brain structure and activity. During some of these studies, participants are looking at pictures or movies and making responses using button presses. These experiments are performed at the Caltech Brain Imaging Center (CBIC) which is just down the hall from our lab.

Groups of People We Study

Research in our lab is directed at understanding how the brain functions in general, as well as how it may function differently in individuals with autism, agenesis of the corpus callosum and specific brain lesions. Therefore, we conduct studies on participants from each of these groups.

  • Healthy adults. We perform studies on individuals between the ages of 16-65, who have no major medical problems, psychiatric conditions or developmental delays, and do no family history of autism.
  • High-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We perform studies on high functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 16-65. To be considered ‘high functioning’, individuals must have an full-range IQ of 80 or greater.
  • Adults with complete or partial absence of the corpus callosum (agenesis or dysgenesis of the corpus callosum). We perform studies on high functioning adults with  congenital absence of the corpus callosum, who have no know chromosomal anomaly and minimal additional cognitive malformation.
  • Adults with bilateral amygdala lesions (Urbach-Wiethe disease)