The SCTL focuses on understanding the process of how kids and teens connect to one another and make friends. We have a particular focus on researching this process in children, teens, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Using a variety of lab and community-based methods, we study how children and teens develop effective social competence. Then we use this research to create new approaches to help improve social competence in clinical, school, and community-based practice, with the ultimate aim of improving quality of life for individuals who may have social challenges, as well as their families.
Who We Are
The SCTL is run by Dr. Matthew D. Lerner, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, & Pediatrics at Stony Brook University, and Rebecca Weber, Lab Coordinator. Dr. Lerner has a group of dedicated Graduate (Doctoral and Master’s-level) and Undergraduate research assistants working under his guidance.
- Seeing the Social World: We are conducting an investigation into how children ages 4-10 with and without ASD see and understand their social world, and how this leads to the ability to navigate that world to make effective friendships.
- Measuring Social Cognition in Youth with ASD: We are conducting a study to learn more about how children ages 6-10 think about and understand social information, and how we can track this understanding with a computer activity.
- Investigating Social Patterns in Youth: we are conducting a research study for children ages 11-17 with and without ASD to learn more about the role that different biological and psychological factors play in “real world” social functioning.
- Paying Attention to Social Interactions: we are conducting a study to better understand how attending to social interactions may affect behavior. We are looking for participants who are at least 18 years old, with and without ASD, and have a smartphone.
- ASD Usual Care Study: We are working with colleagues around the country to develop a comprehensive picture of mental health services for children and teens with ASD.
- Intervention Studies: We are engaged in a series of ongoing and new studies examining different approaches to help children and teens with ASD engage in rich social connection, with the goal of understanding what works best, and for whom.