autism spectrum disorder
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience varying degrees of difficulty with social communication, as well as repetitive behaviors ranging from simple motor movements like arm flapping to intense interest in a particular topic or activity. Since ASD is a lifelong condition, the Jones Lab studies a wide range of ages, from toddlers to young adults. We focus on understanding the developmental trajectories of distinct behaviors and cognitive processes such as self control and non-verbal communication, in order to identify factors that predict individual patterns of strengths and challenges for people on the Autism Spectrum.
Anxiety/Major Depressive disorder
Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are characterized by negative emotions including persistent worry in individuals with anxiety, and intense sadness and apathy in those with MDD. About 40-70% of individuals with MDD also have a co-occurring anxiety disorder, making it important to understand both commonalities and differences between anxiety and MDD. Most cases of anxiety or depression develop in adolescence or young adulthood, and therefore we are particularly interested in studying this age group and what makes an individual vulnerable for developing anxiety or MDD.
In order to understand the clinical populations that the Jones Lab studies, it is important to consider typical development as a frame of reference. As such, we study neurotypical individuals from infancy through young adulthood, in order to elucidate how the skills that we seek to understand in clinical populations emerge and grow among individuals who are typically developing. This not only helps us to better understand these behaviors among our clinical comparison groups, but also fills important gaps in our knowledge of typical development.