Research Overview

Dr. Susan Faja studied Neuroscience at the University of Michigan before receiving her doctoral degree in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in 2009. She completed an internship at UCLA in the developmental disabilities track and postdoctoral fellowships focused on clinical neuroscience at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Washington. Her research at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Division of Developmental Medicine focuses on the executive control, social cognition and social perception of children with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental delays. In particular, the Faja Lab seeks to understand changes in these systems resulting from targeted interventions by using electrophysiological as well as behavioral measurement tools. This approach allows for exploration of the developmental processes that contribute to behavioral symptoms, understanding how interventions work, and provides a platform for rigorously testing novel interventions. In addition, the Faja Lab is interested in understanding why individuals with autism spectrum disorders have such striking differences in their development. Understanding these individual differences will lead to better understanding of the causes of neurodevelopmental disorders and allow for treatments to be delivered with more precision and efficiency.

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Autism
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Research Departments

Research Divisions

Researcher Labs

PUBLICATIONS

Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Faja S, Nelson Darling L. Variation in restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests relates to inhibitory control and shifting in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2018 Nov 03; 1362361318804192. View abstract
  2. Altschuler M, Sideridis G, Kala S, Warshawsky M, Gilbert R, Carroll D, Burger-Caplan R, Faja S. Measuring Individual Differences in Cognitive, Affective, and Spontaneous Theory of Mind Among School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Nov; 48(11):3945-3957. View abstract
  3. Hudac CM, Stessman HAF, DesChamps TD, Kresse A, Faja S, Neuhaus E, Webb SJ, Eichler EE, Bernier RA. Exploring the heterogeneity of neural social indices for genetically distinct etiologies of autism. J Neurodev Disord. 2017; 9:24. View abstract
  4. Faja S, Clarkson T, Webb SJ. Neural and behavioral suppression of interfering flankers by children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychologia. 2016 Dec; 93(Pt A):251-261. View abstract
  5. Faja S, Dawson G, Aylward E, Wijsman EM, Webb SJ. Early event-related potentials to emotional faces differ for adults with autism spectrum disorder and by serotonin transporter genotype. Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 06; 127(6):2436-47. View abstract
  6. Webb SJ, Neuhaus E, Faja S. Face perception and learning in autism spectrum disorders. Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2017 05; 70(5):970-986. View abstract
  7. Faja S, Dawson G, Sullivan K, Meltzoff AN, Estes A, Bernier R. Executive function predicts the development of play skills for verbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Res. 2016 12; 9(12):1274-1284. View abstract
  8. Neuhaus E, Kresse A, Faja S, Bernier RA, Webb SJ. Face processing among twins with and without autism: social correlates and twin concordance. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016 Jan; 11(1):44-54. View abstract
  9. Naples A, Nguyen-Phuc A, Coffman M, Kresse A, Faja S, Bernier R, McPartland JC. A computer-generated animated face stimulus set for psychophysiological research. Behav Res Methods. 2015 Jun; 47(2):562-70. View abstract
  10. Naples A, Nguyen-Phuc A, Coffman M, Kresse A, Faja S, Bernier R, McPartland JC. Erratum to: A computer-generated animated face stimulus set for psychophysiological research. Behav Res Methods. 2015 Jun; 47(2):571. View abstract
  11. Faja S, Dawson G. Reduced delay of gratification and effortful control among young children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism. 2015 Jan; 19(1):91-101. View abstract
  12. Faja S, Dawson G. Performance on the dimensional change card sort and backward digit span by young children with autism without intellectual disability. Child Neuropsychol. 2014; 20(6):692-9. View abstract
  13. Kohls G, Perino MT, Taylor JM, Madva EN, Cayless SJ, Troiani V, Price E, Faja S, Herrington JD, Schultz RT. The nucleus accumbens is involved in both the pursuit of social reward and the avoidance of social punishment. Neuropsychologia. 2013 Sep; 51(11):2062-9. View abstract
  14. Faja S, Murias M, Beauchaine TP, Dawson G. Reward-based decision making and electrodermal responding by young children with autism spectrum disorders during a gambling task. Autism Res. 2013 Dec; 6(6):494-505. View abstract
  15. Dawson G, Jones EJ, Merkle K, Venema K, Lowy R, Faja S, Kamara D, Murias M, Greenson J, Winter J, Smith M, Rogers SJ, Webb SJ. Early behavioral intervention is associated with normalized brain activity in young children with autism. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012 Nov; 51(11):1150-9. View abstract
  16. Herrington J, Nymberg C, Faja S, Price E, Schultz R. The responsiveness of biological motion processing areas to selective attention towards goals. Neuroimage. 2012 Oct 15; 63(1):581-90. View abstract
  17. Faja S, Webb SJ, Jones E, Merkle K, Kamara D, Bavaro J, Aylward E, Dawson G. The effects of face expertise training on the behavioral performance and brain activity of adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Feb; 42(2):278-93. View abstract
  18. Munson J, Faja S, Meltzoff A, Abbott R, Dawson G. Neurocognitive predictors of social and communicative developmental trajectories in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2008 Nov; 14(6):956-66. View abstract
  19. Faja S, Webb SJ, Merkle K, Aylward E, Dawson G. Brief report: face configuration accuracy and processing speed among adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 Mar; 39(3):532-8. View abstract
  20. Faja S, Aylward E, Bernier R, Dawson G. Becoming a face expert: a computerized face-training program for high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Dev Neuropsychol. 2008; 33(1):1-24. View abstract
  21. Munson J, Dawson G, Abbott R, Faja S, Webb SJ, Friedman SD, Shaw D, Artru A, Dager SR. Amygdalar volume and behavioral development in autism. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Jun; 63(6):686-93. View abstract
  22. Skwerer DP, Verbalis A, Schofield C, Faja S, Tager-Flusberg H. Social-perceptual abilities in adolescents and adults with Williams syndrome. Cogn Neuropsychol. 2006; 23(2):338-49. View abstract
  23. Plesa-Skwerer D, Faja S, Schofield C, Verbalis A, Tager-Flusberg H. Perceiving facial and vocal expressions of emotion in individuals with Williams syndrome. Am J Ment Retard. 2006 Jan; 111(1):15-26. View abstract
  24. Dawson G, Webb SJ, Wijsman E, Schellenberg G, Estes A, Munson J, Faja S. Neurocognitive and electrophysiological evidence of altered face processing in parents of children with autism: implications for a model of abnormal development of social brain circuitry in autism. Dev Psychopathol. 2005; 17(3):679-97. View abstract
  25. Tager-Flusberg H, Plesa-Skwerer D, Faja S, Joseph RM. People with Williams syndrome process faces holistically. Cognition. 2003 Aug; 89(1):11-24. View abstract