Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neurodevelopment (SCANgroup)

We are broadly interested in understanding brain connections and neural mechanisms that give rise to our complex social behaviors, through the prism of development.

We use neuropsychological assessment, along with functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and other brain imaging methods (EEG, ERPs) to understand neural bases of typical and atypical development. See Research section for more details.

The SCANgroup is part of the Brain Development Imaging Laboratories (BDIL), a collaborative research cluster investigating brain development.

We are also affiliated with the SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, SDSU Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience, SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, and SDSU Department of Psychology and its Master’s Program.

SCANgroup in spotlight

Read the SDSU Research Foundation article about SCANgroup

SDSU Toddler MRI Project:

Our current efforts focus on identifying early brain markers for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which remain unknown today. The SDSU Toddler MRI Project’s goal is to understand how the brain develops in the first years of life in toddlers and preschoolers with ASD in comparison to typically developing children. We are examining how the brain is organized at the age when first autism symptoms become apparent (around 18-24 months) and how it changes throughout the early childhood, by the time children reach age 4-5 years.

This project is conducted in collaboration with colleagues at SDSU, UCSD, and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, and is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health. To learn more about this project, read here.

Latest @ SCANgroup:

April 2018: SCANgroup receives a new award!

SCANgroup receives a new award to examine the effects of the Improvisational Theater intervention on social skills in teens with ASDs. Under this Community-University partnership award, we will be teaming up with Richie Ploesch and the Unscripted Learning Connections Program to evaluate the effects of their fun improv theater program on anxiety and overall well-being in teenagers with ASDs.

September 2017: The SDSU Center for Autism

The SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders has been founded! Directed by Dr. Fishman, the Center will provide diagnostic and evaluation services to the individuals with autism spectrum disorders across the lifespan. For more on the Center’s mission, read here.

Latest Student News:

May 2020: SDSU Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Congrats to Elisa Mendez, an undergraduate student in the lab, for acceptance into the SDSU Summer Undergraduate Research Program! During this entirely virtual program (due to the Covid pandemic), Elisa will utilize the Toddler Project data to examine whether there are links between socioeconomic variables and anxiety levels in young children with autism.

May 2019: SCANgroup at INSAR 2019

Check out our presentations at the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) meeting in Montreal: from brain networks in toddlers with autism, to the relations between SES and early language skills in ASD, and effects of improvisational theater intervention on teens’ social skills.

Contact Us
Phone: 619-594-2500
Address: 6363 Alvarado Court Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92120
Directions: see here