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Citations since 2017
19 Research Items
My research focuses on the role of Executive Functions in social contexts, like language. My research interests include executive functions, cognitive development, fMRI, and educational neuroscience.
May 2019 - present
- Research Assistant
- Research on the neurobiology of social, cognitive and affective processes in both typical and atypical development, primarily autism using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques to measure brain structures.
August 2018 - present
- Research Assistant
- Research on children's language development along with several other issues related to cognitive development more broadly.
May 2018 - present
- Research Assistant
- Research on monolingual and bilingual language development, self-regulation, and the development of interventions to improve child outcomes.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulties in theory of mind (ToM) and social communication. Studying structural and functional correlates of ToM in the brain, and how autistic and nonautistic groups differ in terms of these correlates can help with diagnosis and understanding biological mechanisms of ASD. In this study, we inv...
Sentences that have more than one possible meaning are said to be syntactically ambiguous (SA). Because the correct interpretation of these sentences can be unclear, resolving SA sentences can be cognitively demanding for children, particularly with regards to inhibitory control (IC). In this study we provide three lines of evidence supporting the...
In this article, we will describe a big summary (called a meta-analysis) of 16 brain mapping studies in people with autism spectrum disorder. People with autism often have difficulty with activities like decision-making, planning, and switching between tasks, which are called executive function (EF) activities. We found that certain parts of the br...
The phenotype of a complex disorder like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diverse and multidimensional, with substantial heterogeneity in its symptomatology. This makes it challenging to generate an overarching theoretical model that can explain the core and extended symptoms of ASD. Unpacking the defining features of ASD (deficits in social commu...
Linked in pdf is an animation video presentation of the project. Video was presented at the 2021 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Southeastern Regionals virtual conference.
There is substantial research on children’s evaluations of transgressors, but less is known about the extent to which children view actions toward recipients as indicative of a recipient’s personality or deserved outcomes. We examined the extent to which 3‐ to 5‐year‐olds, relative to an adult comparison group, judged the recipients of negative beh...
Children and adults completed two experiments examining the association between social actions and character judgments. In Experiment 1, participants saw actors perform acts that varied by valence (negative or positive) and social domain (moral or conventional) and judged both the acts and the actors. Findings show that both children and adults dif...
Despite decades of research, the brain basis of aberrant face processing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains a topic of debate. The mid-fusiform sulcus (MFS), a minor feature of the ventral occipitotemporal cortex, provides new directions for studying face processing. The MFS closely aligns with face-selective cortical patches and other struc...
Linked in pdf is the video presentation shown at the 2020 University of Alabama Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Virtual Competition.
Higher cognitive functions in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are characterized by impairments in executive functions (EF). While some research attributes this to an overreliance of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), others demonstrate poor recruitment of the PFC in individuals with ASD. In order to assess the emerging consensus across neuroimaging studie...
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in executive function (EF)(Hill, 2004). While some research attributes this to an overreliance of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), others demonstrate poor recruitment of the PFC in individuals with ASD (Gilbert et al., 2008). In order to assess the emerging consensus across neuroimaging stu...
Linked in pdf is an animation video presentation of the project. Video was presented at the 2020 Cognitive Neuroscience virtual conference.
Linked in pdf is a video of a 3MT style research talk entitled "Neurofunctional Indices of Executive Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder" at the Southeastern Universities Graduate Research Symposium (SURG).
Children judge in-group members more favorably than out-group members. They also judge moral transgressions as more serious and more worthy of punishment than conventional transgressions. Here we asked whether children’s judgments of moral and conventional transgressions vary by the group membership of the transgressor (in-group, neutral, out-group...
Children sometimes have trouble resolving syntactically ambiguous (SA) sentences. For example, the sentence "Put the frog on the napkin in the box" can be challenging because the phrase "on the napkin" could refer to the frog or to the box (Trueswell et al., 1999). Successful resolution of SA sentences depends on several factors, including inhibiti...
Recent studies demonstrate strong, concurrent relationships between language and EF, particularly during early childhood. However, the literature remains controversial with respect to this relationship. Whereas some studies cite a bidirectional relationship, others suggest that EF is predictive of language gains, while others suggest that it is lan...
The future of our community is in the hands of today's parents. Parents and guardians are more than caretakers-- they are lifelong teachers, instrumental in their children's social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Parent-child relationships that are warm, open, and communicative are associated with higher self-esteem, lower depressi...
Media multitasking, using two or more medias concurrently, prevails among adolescents and emerging adults. The inherent mental habits of media multitasking—dividing attention, switching attention, and maintaining multiple trains of thought— have significant implications and consequences for students’ academic performance. The goal of this review is...
This is a video abstract of the following paper. The video abstract was published on the website and social media accounts of The International Journal of Technology in Higher Education. May, K. E., & Elder, A. (2018). Efficient, helpful, or distracting?: A literature review of media multitasking in relation to academic performance. International...
I am currently conducting a study in which we need to establish group membership in preschoolers. The study will be conducted virtually via Zoom because of COVID. Because of this, many of the traditional group paradigms will not work (e.g., colored shirts, stickers). What are methods to establish group membership on an online study with preschoolers? Some ideas I have are matching characters by gender or obtaining the child's favorite food, school, or favorite color to establish membership ("This [puppet] also likes pizza as their favorite food. You guys are the pizza team!").