Ami Klin PhD
Professor (Adjunct) in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology
social development; social cognition; eye-tracking research; social neuroscience of autism and related conditions; autism
- Prospective Study of Babies at Risk for Autism using eye-tracking technologies to quantify social engagement and to develop methods for the detection of risk for autism in early infancy
- Development of independently validated but convergent methods for quantification of social engagement from infancy through adolescence
- Multiple projects involving clinical, neuropsychological and social cognitive research in autism spectrum disorders
- Multiple collaborations intersection clinical and basic science research (e.g., genetics, developmental neurobiology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry)
Dr. Klin’s primary research activities focus on the social mind and the social brain, and on aspects of autism from infancy through adulthood. These studies include novel eye-tracking technologies developed in the Laboratory of Social Neuroscience, Autism Program, Yale Child Study Center, which is co-directed with Warren Jones. These techniques allow researchers to see the world through the eyes of individuals with autism. Our novel methods are now being applied in the screening of babies at risk for autism in the Simons Laboratory of Social Neuroscience in Infancy.
Extensive Research Description
Our program of research focuses on mechanisms of socialization and their disruption in the autism spectrum disorders. This work includes a close collaboration with Warren Jones in the development of novel techniques to quantify social processes using eye-tracking technologies with a view to visualize and measure the ontogeny of social engagement. New data analytic strategies have been used with children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorders revealing abnormalities of visual scanning behaviors when viewing naturalistic social approaches and situations. With the support of the Simons Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, we are currently monitoring babies at-risk for autism from birth for indicators of the earliest divergence we are currently monitoring babies at-risk for autism from birth for indicators of the earliest divergence from the normative pathways in social development. Our goal is to create objective measurements of vulnerabilities for autism in the first year or maybe months of life, possibly before the emergence of detectable symptoms. This program of research also includes studies of the ability to impose social meaning on ambiguous visual displays, probing systems involved in the perception of biological motion and human action more broadly. Additional projects include studies of diagnostic profiles, neuropsychology, adaptive functioning and circumscribed interests in autism spectrum disorders. Collaborations include studies in functional neuroimaging, genetics, neurobiology, and psychopharmacology.