Social Cognition & Autism

The 'Social cognition and autism' team, directed by Tiziana Zalla, is part of the 'Social Cognition' team at the Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole normale supérieure. It is affiliated to the Fondation Fondamental, a network of scientific cooperation operating in the domain of psychiatric disorders []

Our approach is strongly interdisciplinary: it makes use of tools from theoretical cognitive science and social sciences, cognitive neuropsychology and evolutionary psychology.  Our team investigates the cognitive processes involved in social interaction and social reasoning. Originally inspired by neuropsychological findings, our current research focuses on the cognitive and social dysfunctions in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In particular, we are interested to understand the connections between socio-emotional competence and the executive functions (i.e., inhibition and cognitive control) in ASD.

Our current studies are focused on how people attend to, evaluate and react to others' social and emotional signals such as eye contact, facial expressions, as well as prosocial or aversive behaviors. These and other questions are being addressed by us using a variety of techniques, including behavioural, eye-tracking and psychophysiological measurements.

Our current research focuses on social and cognitive functioning in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. In particular, we are interested in their abilities to make intentional and moral judgments, and to decode perceptual stimuli to be used for cognitive processes. Our research is focusing on a theoretical perspective that the ability to reason about others and one’s self is based on (a) domain-specific mechanisms for the acquisition of perceptual knowledge about the world, and (b) domain-general processes subserving the cognitive control and the integration of that knowledge.

Subpages (3): Members Projects Publications