Northwestern Events Calendar


Psychology Colloquium: Caroline Robertson

When: Thursday, January 26, 2017
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM  

Where: Swift Hall, Room 107, 2029 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Laura Nevins   847.467.5027

Group: Department of Psychology

Category: Academic


The Northwestern University Psychology Colloquium Series Presents:

Caroline Robertson

Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Visual Perception and Circuit-Level Insights into Autism"


Abstract: Atypical visual perception is a defining characteristic of autism, noted since the earliest reports of the condition. We know very little about where visual differences arise in the autistic brain or how they relate to the wider litany of symptoms associated with the condition. In this talk, I will first present extensive evidence that autistic visual differences originate in primary sensory regions of the brain, and yet demonstrate an intriguing relationship to clinical measures of symptom severity in higher-order (social/cognitive) behaviors. These findings suggest that autistic visual symptoms may reflect low-level, yet pervasive alterations in neural circuitry. I will then describe our recent work using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to articulate the neural underpinnings of these symptoms. Specifically, I will present an empirical link between a particular neurotransmitter in the autistic brain (GABA) and robust and replicated differences in autistic visual behavior. Finally, I will propose that understanding visual representations in autism may enable us to form a unified account of disparate levels of autistic symptomatology, and to bridge circuit-level theories of the autistic brain with symptoms people experience in real life.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

4:00 pm, Swift Hall 107

Reception to follow

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