Caitlin M. Hudac, Ph.D.
I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist interested in how infants, children, and adults learn and think about other people. My research focuses on the development of the social brain, including basic processes (e.g., social attention, intrinsic social motivation) and higher-ordered social cognition (e.g., understanding goal-oriented behavior, reasoning about others).
Understanding the social brain: Our research aims to understand how the brain changes as infants, children, and adults learn about the world. We primarily focus on the development of the social brain, including basic processes (e.g., social attention, intrinsic social motivation) and higher-ordered social cognition (e.g., understanding goal-oriented behavior, reasoning about others).
Healthy and atypical development: We work with healthy populations to better understand these mechanisms with an emphasis on how the social brain responds dynamically. In addition, we work to identify "biomarkers" that may be critical for generating targeted treatments for individuals with atypical development, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), or social anxiety disorder (SAD). We aim to identify unique subgroups by examining patterns across biomarkers -- for instance, subgroups based upon genetic etiology or based upon behavioral profile.
Addressing disparities: We investigate brain development in populations that are historically represented in research, including rural and minority (Black) populations. Several of our projects directly tackle this aim: for instance, we are part of a university-wide initiative designed to track longitudinal trajectories of rural children (including brain responses). More broadly, we are committed to overcoming traditional barriers to participation through community engagement together with our colleagues within CYDI, as well as creative solutions to reduce burden on families (e.g., researchers travel to complete EEG testing using portable equipment).
University of Chicago, A.B. ('05, Human Development)
University of Nebraska, Ph.D. ('14, Developmental Psychology)
Developmental cognitive neuroscience techniques:
Electroencephalography (EEG), Event-related potentials (ERP), Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), eye tracking. I have also had pilot experience working with functional near infrared-spectroscopy (fNIRS).