Assistant professor, Indiana University
Here’s how Kennedy describes what he will talk about in this webinar:
Much of what we know about the cognitive and neural underpinnings of autism comes from experiments using highly controlled stimuli and carefully planned experimental manipulations. However, an important complementary approach that has been largely ignored emphasizes ecological validity over control — that is, using experimental conditions that accurately reflect features of the natural world. These features include stimuli and tasks that are complex, dynamic, multimodal, unpredictable, unconstrained and interactive.
In this webinar, I will present examples from my laboratory that illustrate how using these more ecologically valid experimental approaches can provide insight into autism. Examples will include a behavioral study on the perception of facial expressions, an eye-tracking study of naturalistic parent-child interactions during play, and a neuroimaging study of neural responses to television and movie viewing. Throughout the talk, I will highlight the many benefits of studying behavior, cognition and neural functioning in autism using approaches that better approximate features of the real world.