Dr. Nichole (Nikki) Scheerer
PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience
An NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship allowed Nikki to expand her research program under the supervision of Dr. Grace Iarocci in the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research lab at Simon Fraser University in beautiful British Columbia. Returning home to Ontario, Nikki continued her postdoctoral training as a Tier 1 BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Fellow under the supervision of Drs. David Purcell, Janis Cardy, and Ryan Stevenson at Western University.
In 2022, Nikki started an Assistant Professorship in the Psychology Department at Wilfrid Laurier University. Nikki is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western University and an Online Instructor for the Psychology Department at the University of New Brunswick.
Nikki’s research combines behavioural and electrophysiological techniques to investigate sensory processing in both typically and atypically developing people. Our senses are constantly bombarded with information as we navigate our daily environments. How we process this sensory information influences our ability to learn, move, and communicate, among other things.
Nikki’s research aims to further our understanding of the factors that influence sensory processing heterogeneity. Nikki is particularly interested in how the abnormal processing of sensory information may have downstream effects on the development of higher cognitive processes such as speech communication and language, motor control, social competence, and emotion regulation.
A major goal of Nikki’s research is to bridge theory and application. By increasing our understanding of how sensory processing changes across the lifespan in healthy children and adults and comparing this typical development to that of children and adults with developmental disabilities, Nikki’s research will help to identify targets for intervention when developing speech, language, motor, social, and emotional processing interventions and treatments.
Language Preference Studies: Along with Nikki’s sensory research, Nikki has been working to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion through community engagement and support. This has led Nikki to develop projects that (1) examine the language preferences of autistic and non-autistic people (person-first “person with autism” vs. identity-first “autistic person”) and how these preferences relate to self-identity, internalized stigma, mental health, and camouflaging; (2) explore autism stigma by looking at cognitive biases; (3) examine the pathways and barriers to an autism diagnosis.