Within WP3, a group of 3 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will receive a comprehensive training focused on delivering cutting-edge scientific research. Each ESR will work on an individual research project. In WP3 we examine the contribution of parental input to parent-child exchanges and investigates how this input can result in differences in behavioural and brain changes in the child over time. ESR8 will use sequential time analysis on a large corpus of parent-child interaction collected on 10- and 14-month-old infants at familial high-risk of ASD or born prematurely to examine whether there are contingent relationships between individual differences in maternal behaviour (such as prompting, looking) and subsequent child joint attention behaviour. They will also test the extent to which parental influences extend to the child’s response to unfamiliar adult interaction partners and neural (ERP) responses to social stimuli. ESR9 will use real-time analysis of neuroimaging data to identify the types of parental behaviours that produce maximal activity in social reward networks in the infant brain. ESR10 will test whether an intervention approach that involves modifying parent recognition of and response to their young child impacts on child social communication outcomes and neural response to social (and non-social) stimuli (using EEG and fNIRS). The intervention will be conducted with 9- to 18-month-old infants at risk of atypical social outcomes due to having an older sibling with an ASD diagnosis or being born prematurely.

WP3 leaders: prof. Tony Charman (KCL) & prof. Herbert Roeyers (UGent)

Individual ESR projects:

ESR8: Maternal strategies to promote joint-attention in infants: a sequential analysis. Supervisors: prof. Herbert Roeyers (UGent), dr Petra Warreyn (UGent), site: UGent, Belgium.

ESR9: Using real-time analysis to map h social brain networks drive social interaction in infancy. Supervisors: prof. Emily Jones (BBK), prof. Robert Leech (KCL), dr Peter Hellyer (Phier), site: BBK, the UK.

ESR10: The impact of a parent-mediated intervention on social behaviour and social brain development in infants at high risk for developing ASD. Supervisors: prof. Herbert Roeyers, Sara van der Paelt, dr Petra Warreyn (UGent), prof. Tony Charman (KCL), site: UGent, Belgium.