Autism Research

According to a recently published CDC study approximately 1 in 94 children in new jersey has autism; the highest rate ever documented in the United States. Autism is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to merge the stimuli they intake and communicate effectively with others. It can lead to mental retardation, repetitive behaviors and language delays including total muteness -- yet in some cases, a person can be fully functioning.

Individuals with autism may display difficulty with developing imagination, difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, difficulty with social relationships, and other pscyological related developmental problems which may limit the individuals ability to adapt and cope with their environment.

The Rutgers Department of Psychology Newark in cooperation with the UMDNJ Autisim Center of New Jersey is currently conducting research on this very important topic in order to better our understandings of how the brain develops and what functions are specifically affected by this disorder.

The following labs are currently conducting research on autism:

Professor Maggie Shiffrar, Psychology Department
In our visual perception laboratory, we study how people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) perceive and interpret other people's actions. We aim to determine whether, and if so to what extent, deficits in the visual perception of human motion underly the social deficits associated with ASD. We work with Dr. Charles Cartwright, director of the Autism Center at UMDNJ, to understand how people with ASD perceive human movement.
Contact information:
Email: mag at(@) psychology.rutgers.edu
Homepage: Available Here
Lab: Website

Professor Mill Jonakait, Federated Department of Biological Sciences
Our laboratory studies the relationship between autism and the immune system. Because there is the suggestion that prenatal exposure to infections or toxins may contribute to autism, we are interested in exploring mechanisms underlying the changes in brain structure that could result from such prenatal infection.
Contact Information:
Email: jonakait at(@) andromeda.rutgers.edu
Homepage: Available Here