PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Social Cognition in Autism
Noah Sasson received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in 2005. He has held post-doctoral research fellowships at the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center at UNC, the Brain Behavior Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His work investigates the development of the perception, processing and interpretation of social information.
My research attempts to understand the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that contribute to social dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). By comparing the visual attention patterns of individuals with and without ASD as they view stimuli and engage in various social cognitive tasks, I hope to gain insight into how different people perceive and process social information. The ultimate goal of my work is to identify specific factors underlying impairments in social functioning that may be amenable to treatment and intervention. I am also interested in how these factors may differ from those in other disorders (e.g., Schizophrenia) that are diagnostically and etiologically distinct from ASD but overlap in aspects of social dysfunction.
Additionally, I conduct research that examines repetitive behaviors and restricted interests in ASD. Some of my recent work, for example, has involved quantifying the nature of circumscribed interests in ASD and whether the presence of these interests interferes with other normative developmental processes.
Pinkham, A. E., Sasson, N. J., Simpson, C. E., Healey, K., & Kohler, C. (2014). An intact threat superiority effect for non-social but not social stimuli in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 168-177.
Sasson, N. J. & Touchstone, E. W. (2014). Visual attention to competing social and object images by preschool children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 584-592.
Sasson, N. J., Nowlin, R., & Pinkham, A. E. (2013). Social cognition, social skill and the broad autism phenotype. Autism: the International Journal of Research and Practice, 17, 655-667.