News

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    Congratulations to David Ruttenberg for having been appointed a Fellow of the The Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), which is granted to individuals judged to have made outstanding achievements to social progress and development. Founded in 1754 by William Shipley as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1847 and the right to use the term “Royal” in its name by King Edward VII in 1908. The RSA acronym is used more frequently than the full legal name (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). David has already attended several workshops where he conveyed his passion for studying interventions for autistic individuals.

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    We are pleased to announce that over 700 people participated in our online study this summer!

    This is our first round of data collection online and has enabled us to collect data from many more people than in previous years. Thank you to all our masters students for helping us to make this happen and to everyone for participating!

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    Ruihan has been awarded a student bursary to attend the Summer University program of the Central European University (CEU) “Representing the world in the developing mind: From objects to context”. The program gathered different fields of experts, such as cognitive and neurodevelopmental psychology, in one place to talk about how the developing mind represent the world. From the development of executive function to Theory of Mind, studies have assumed that developing minds have a stable representation of objects, which they enumerate and track according to the perceptual input and maintain despite occlusion. During the program, it has also been discussed that the interaction between different factors contributing to object perception and memory, from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The the ultimate goal of the program is to advance the understanding of how infants form representations of their environment, and how these representations develop throughout childhood.

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    At the recommendation of Dr White, David was recently awarded a position as a Fellow in UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering (IHE) Impact Scheme. The IHE aims to bring together leading researchers to develop digital and medical technologies that transform lives across the globe and is composed of PhDs, postdocs, and principal investigators. Over the next year, the cohort intends on accelerating the impact of their research beyond the university’s walls by engaging policymakers, media, public, patient and community groups.

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    Ruihan has been awarded a student bursary from the IMPRS NeuroCom and the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL London to attend the 10th IMPRS NeuroCom Summer School, taking place from 5th-8th July 2021. During the event, she presented a poster entitled ‘Can mentalizing measures be unsusceptible to compensation?’. It was a great event, that enlightened and discussed key topics of Cognitive Neuroscience.

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    Ruihan attended the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) meeting on 14th-15th April 2021. She gave a talk entitled ‘Does prompted instruction in an anticipatory looking paradigm trigger compensation?’. The conference was hosted by the Experimental Psychology Society. We found our prompted anticipatory looking task can reliably trigger belief-based action prediction and assess mentalizing in adults. Most importantly, we provided evidence that the prompted anticipatory looking task was not susceptible to compensation, it seems like that this task is a more pure measure for mentalizing, which have the potential to refine our understanding of mentalizing per se. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with peers and experts.

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    Sarah has been awarded a research bursary from the EPS for Zuzana Nikodemova, a 2nd year UCL Psychology undegraduate, to join the lab this summer. Zuzana will work on a project looking at mentalizing and bilingualism.

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    LOGO for Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

    After serving two years as a constituency board member, David Ruttenberg was recently and unanimously elected as Chairman of the Board for Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (FAU CARD). CARD is the largest, state-based community-based program providing assistance and supports to more than 5,000 individuals and their families with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities. Additionally, CARD serves supporting professionals, employers and the community through a Florida Legislature grant made possible through the Florida Department of Education. CARD provides free services and supports to eligible constituents throughout a massive five-county service area including Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie.

    CARD serves individuals of any age, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Levels 1-3), Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), Dual Sensory Impairment or Deaf-Blind, and Sensory Impairment with another disabling condition.

    CARD’s work centers on building the capacity of families, schools, businesses and other community agencies to better prepare and support people with autism and related disabilities. We address issues impacting people across their entire lifespan thru services including direct patient assistance, consultation and education within schools, agencies and communities, family training, professional development, and supporting businesses working with autistic individuals. You can learn more about CARD by clicking here .

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    We are excited to announce that our lab leader, Sarah White, has received funding from UCL’s Global Engagement Office to study cognitive differences in autism, within the Pakistani population. The study will specifically be looking at Theory of Mind — the ability to attribute mental states to ourselves and others.

    Anushay, our research assistant, will be taking a lead on this project. If you are interested in learning more, you can have a look at the project page or send Anushay an email at anushay.mazhar.17@ucl.ac.uk.