News

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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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    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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    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.

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    Ruihan attended the Kinds of Mindreading Graduate Conference on Theory of Mind on 6th February 2021. She gave a talk entitled ‘Do Autistic Adults Spontaneously Reason False and True Beliefs?’. The day-long virtual event was hosted by the Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning (ECOM) research group at the University of Connecticut. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from like-minded peers and experts, and to familiarise ourselves with the latest advances in mentalizing research.

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    In February 2021, Advance HE (formerly the British Professional Society known as the Higher Education Academy) rewarded David Ruttenberg with an Associate Fellowship.

    Fellowship is awarded to professionals who demonstrate they meet the criteria of Descriptor 2 (D2) of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education.

    As a Fellow of HEA, David engages in a broad understanding of effective approaches to learning and teaching support as a key contribution to high quality student learning. At UCL, he demonstrates his personal and institutional commitment as both: (i) a Post Graduate Teaching Assistant and Guest Lecturer for UCL’s Institute of Education and Digital Media Master’s Programme, and (ii) a Content Developer for UCL’s EdD Programme.

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    The DevDivLab is pleased to say hello to Hannah, fresh off her MSc in Psychological Sciences from UCL. She joins the lab as a Research Assistant, taking over from Malwina, and will be working on the Royal Society funded project looking at in-group v/s out-group effects in mentalizing. With a background in Neuroscience, we look forward to the new skills that Hannah brings to the team. Welcome!

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    There has been plenty of personnel changes in the DevDivLab this summer.

    After nearly two years as a DevDivLab Research Assistant, we said so long to Malwina Dziwisz who is embarking on her next career with the NHS. Malwina joined the lab in 2018 with a particularly interest in cognitive functioning in children with congenital disorders and acquired illnesses, as well as their accompanying mental health. Malwina’s contributions were plentiful and she will be sorely missed.

    Relatedly, DevDivLab hosted three summer students, Olivia Dziwisz, a second year medical student, and Mizuki Tojo and Begum Arin, both second year psychology students, and all of whom participated on Executive Function & Double Empathy Projects.

    All of us at the DDL will miss you Malwina, Olivia, Mizuki and Begum and we wish you the very best in your future endeavours.