Staff Scientist

Antoinette Sabatino DiCriscio, PhD

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My research interests are grounded in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience and I have developed a program of research focused on the development and use of objective, physiologic measures that can be used to assess quantitative traits and risk-markers across various forms of developmental psychopathology and in complex behavioral disorders. I aim to dimensionally assess clinically relevant behavioral phenotypes and identify meaningful individual differences that scale with the presence of clinical traits. My training and research up to this point has mainly focused on the use of eye tracking to captures measures of eye gaze and pupil response as objective measures of attention and cognitive processes as well as underlying mechanisms known to influence psychosocial behaviors.

A large portion of my research has been based in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental conditions; however, my interests have moved away from the study of traditional dichotomous diagnostic categories and evolved to focus on the dimensional measurement of clinically relevant behavioral phenotypes. With the introduction of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) by the National Institute of Mental Health, new research has highlighted that diagnostic groups traditionally discussed within isolated “silos” may in fact share common clinical features and even similar paths to diagnosis. In research on autism spectrum disorders, core symptom domains such as restricted and repetitive behaviors and psychosocial impairments have been observed in other neurodevelopmental disorders as well as in typical development suggesting that clinical traits may be continuously distributed across the general population.

In addition to utilizing basic scientific and research practices to better understand clinical features central to autism spectrum disorders and other complex behavioral phenotypes such as addiction, I am dedicated to (i) using eye tracking and other psychophysiologic methods to develop objective measures that can be used to quantify behavioral risk-markers of psychopathology, (ii) understanding how these measures can be used to dimensionally assess behavioral traits associated with various forms of psychopathology, and (iii) developing a program of translational research that will produce objective measures and biological markers that can be utilized in clinical screening protocols as well as in clinical outcome assessment.