The Clinical Neuroscience of Social Brain Development in ASD
James McPartland, PhD
Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology
Director, Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic
Social-communicative difficulties are a unifying feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research in the McPartland Lab investigates the interaction between early-occurring vulnerabilities in social brain systems and subsequent experience in individuals with ASD. Dr. McPartland describes an approach using clinical insights to guide neuroscientific study toward development of translational applications. The lecture reviews a series of studies testing predictions of the social motivation hypothesis of ASD and describe its revision. Development of novel, “interactive neuroscience” approaches hold promise to increase the realism and validity of social neuroscience research. This line of inquiry offers direct implications for meaningfully parsing heterogeneity in ASD, designing targeted treatments, and elucidating the neural underpinnings of effective intervention.