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SARAH PATERSON, PhD

Infant Neuroimaging Lab


Center for Autism Research
3535 Market Street
Suite 860
Philadelphia, PA 19104



I am a developmental psychologist and Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Autism Research working on infant cognition and brain imaging. As the director of the Infant Neuroimaging Lab, I am Co- Principal Investigator of a site in the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence study investigating brain and cognitive development in the infant siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS), I study infants from 3 months old through toddlerhood to measure brain growth and to investigate how changes in the brain over development might be linked to ASD. In this study, we take MRI scans of brain structure and conduct assessments of infants, using both standardized and experimental measures, to track development. We hope that in tracing the developmental trajectories of infants, we can pinpoint when early signs of ASD first emerge.

My other research interests include measuring brain function using electrophysiology and using eye tracking to investigate visual preferences. I also conduct studies on language and learning in infants and young children with developmental disorders, such as ASD and Williams Syndrome. I am interested in how and why developmental trajectories differ in atypical development. I enjoy being involved in conveying science to the public and have burgeoning interest in the development of play.

Sample of Significant Publications

Paterson SJ, Brown JH, Gsodl MK, Johnson MH, Karmiloff-Smith A. Cognitive modularity and genetic disorders. Science. 1999. 286(5448): 2355-8.

Paterson SJ, Girelli L, Butterworth B, Karmiloff-Smith A. Are numerical difficulties syndrome specific? Evidence from Williams syndrome and Down Syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2006. 47(2): 190-204.

Paterson SJ, Heim S, Thomas Friedman JJ, Choudhury N, Benasich AA. Development of structure and function in the infant brain: Implications for cognition, language and social behaviour. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2006. 30(8): 1087-105.

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