Laurier Undergraduate Thesis Conference

March 2024 - Our fantastic undergraduate students presented their research at the Wilfrid Laurier University Undergraduate Thesis Conference!
  • Rita at the Thesis Conference

    Rita Bishai with her poster "Vocal Motor Control During Exposure to Variable Auditory Feedback".
  • Natasha at the Thesis Conference

    Natasha Sokolon with her poster "Expressive Prosody in Speech Segments and its Relation to Alexithymia".
  • Sydney at the Thesis Conference

    Sydney Austin with her poster "Watch Your Step: The Role of Trait Anxiety on Motor Control Across Different Sensory Environments".
  • Jahnavi at the Thesis Conference

    Jahnavi Jagtiani with her poster "A Systematic Review of EEG-Based Auditory Evoked Potentials in Children".
  • Our Fantastic Thesis Students!

    Natasha, Jahnavi, Rita, and Sydney (left-right) at the Undergraduate Thesis Conference. We are so proud of our wonderful thesis students and all of their hard work!

Meeting on Language in Autism (MoLA)

March 2024 - Cognisant Lab attends the international Meeting on Language in Autism (MoLA) at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Cognisant Lab at MoLA

    Dr. Nichole Scheerer, Sydney Austin, Natasha Sokolon, and Zehra Sasal (left-right) at MoLA.

Autism Across the Lifespan: From Diagnosis to Service Access - Inspiring Conversations

Join Dr. Nichole Scheerer (Cognisant Lab) , Dr. Janet McLaughlin (LARC) , and Dr. Margaret Schneider (LARC) speak about autism across the lifespan as a part of the Inspiring Conversations Series at Wilfrid Laurier University. For further information and resources, please visit our Resources for Autistic Adults page and Laurier Autism Research Consortium's website.
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Dr. Nichole Scheerer recently sat down with Faces of Autism - Big Spoon Lil Spoon - UW Chapter to discuss the latest autism diagnosis research happening in Cognisant Lab.

In this chat, Dr. Scheerer dives into the Pathways to an Autism Diagnosis study. This study seeks to illuminate the different ways people in Canada seek an autism diagnosis, considering that autism can show up in various ways. The goal of this work is to make sure that everyone in Canada can easily seek a diagnosis and receive the help they need without any roadblocks.

Thank you to Faces of Autism for giving Dr. Scheerer the platform to talk about what's happening in Cognisant Lab! Check out the full article here.

This research is all about making sure no one is left in the dark when it comes to autism diagnosis. Spread the word and help us build a more inclusive and accessible future!

New Article: Negative First Impression Judgements of Autistic Children by Non-Autistic Adults

A new study by Dr. Scheerer and her colleagues from Simon Fraser University, "Negative First Impression Judgements of Autistic Children by Non-Autistic Adults" has been published in Frontiers in Psychiatry!

This work sheds light on a concerning issue: non-autistic adults tend to hold negative first impressions of autistic children. Despite strides in promoting autism acceptance and inclusion, these findings underscore ongoing challenges in combatting stereotypes.

The study involved 346 undergraduate students who viewed video interviews with both autistic and non-autistic children, along with other media formats like audio, transcripts, and still images. Participants were asked to rate these children based on perceived traits and behavioral intentions.

The results revealed that autistic children received consistently more negative ratings, particularly when audio was included. Individuals with higher social competence and explicit biases against autism were more likely to rate autistic children negatively.

Conversely, participants with more autistic traits and positive past interactions with autistic individuals rated autistic children more positively. This suggests that certain personal characteristics may play a role in perpetuating stereotypes, impacting the social inclusion of autistic individuals.

This study serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for autism awareness and education to break down barriers and promote inclusivity. The continued research of Cognisant Lab will aim to challenge biases and promote education to work towards a more inclusive future for everyone.

Read the full article here.
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The Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS)

July 17th to 19th, 2023 - The Cognisant Lab spent three wonderful days at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the CSBBCS! Our lab had three students present in the parallel talk sessions, and five students give poster presentations. The students and their respective talk/poster topics are pictured below.
  • Cognisant Lab

    The members of Cognisant Lab at the CSBBCS Banquet at the University of Guelph.
  • Zehra Sasal at CSBBCS

    Zehra Sasal's presentation on how prosody perception in autistic individuals can be affected by various noise levels.
  • Silas Manning at CSBBCS

    Silas Manning giving a talk on how decreased sound tolerance can differentially affect autistic individuals.
  • Sydney Austin at CSBBCS

    Sydney Austin's presentation on the influence of sensory sensitivities (such as those present in autism and ADHD) on motor control across different sensory environments.
  • Kiera Leon at CSBBCS

    Kiera Leon's poster on how noisy environments can affect speech motor control in autistic individuals.
  • Rita Bishai at CSBBCS

    Rita Bishai's poster presentation on how exposure to oscillating pitch changes can affect vocal motor control.
  • Natalia Van Esch at CSBBCS

    Natalia Van Esch's poster presentation on the influences on negative judgements of autistic individuals.
  • Angie Redford at CSBBCS

    Angie Redford's poster presentation on the relationship between vocal variability and speech motor control.
  • Zehra Sasal and Dr. Scheerer at CSBBCS

    Zehra Sasal and Dr. Scheerer alongside Zehra's poster on prosody perception in autistic individuals under various noise conditions.
  • The Cognisant Crew at CSBBCS

    The members of Cognisant Lab present at CSBBCS depicted as "silly geese". Artwork by Angie Redford (2023).

International Society for Autism Research (INSAR)

May 2023 - Dr. Scheerer in Sweden at the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) annual meeting where she shared her research about language preferences for describing autism in Canada.

Southern Ontario Neuroscience Association (SONA) Conference

May 2023 - Cognisant Lab at the 41st Southern Ontario Neuroscience Association (SONA) Conference at University of Toronto - Scarborough
  • Kiera Leon

    Kiera, MSc student in front of her poster, "How Sensory Sensitivity Affects Speech Motor Control in Noisy Environments Across Autistic and Non-Autistic Adults".
  • Zehra Sasal

    Zehra, PhD student, in front of her poster, "Prosody Perception Under Auditory Noise Conditions in Autistic Individuals".
  • Silas Manning

    Silas, MSc student, in front of his poster, "Decreased Sound Tolerance in Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder".
  • Sydney Austin

    Sydney, honours thesis student in front of her poster, "Assessing Motor Control across Different Sensory Environments".
  • Angie Redford

    Angie, BSc student, in front of her poster, "Examining the Link between Vocal Variability and Vocal Motor Control".

Society for Research in Child Development

March 30, 2023 - Alyssa Janes and Dr. Scheerer travelled to Salt Lake City for the Society for Research in Child Development where Alyssa shared her work titled "Speech Characteristics Predict Social Competence in Non-Autistic, but not Autistic Children".

Meeting on Language in Autism (MoLA) at Duke University

March 2022 - Dr. Scheerer visited the beautiful Duke University in North Carolina to speak about Cognisant Lab research. Her two posters were focused on characteristics of autistic and non-autistic children's speech as they interact with their parents, and how autistic and non-autistic adults regulate the pitch of their voice when speaking in loud environments.

PhD student Zehra setting up EEG equiptment

March 2022 - Our very own Zehra Sasal practicing EEG net application. Zehra will start her PhD in the Cognisant Lab this Fall helping us to understand how differences in the way the brain processes sound might be related to language development.

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