Daniela (Dani) Seczon is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Washington (UW), where she is studying neural mechanisms of visual cognition of early visual processes in autism spectrum disorders under the supervision and mentorship of Scott Murray. Seczon earned her bachelor’s degree in both psychology and biochemistry from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in neuroscience and education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Before arriving to UW, Seczon had previous research experience with EEG and eye-tracking experiments on topics such as perceptual organization, attention and implicit learning, and individual differences. She is currently interested in exploring the heterogeneity observed in the autistic population, with the aim of better understanding underlying mechanisms. This could help improve early intervention strategies for individuals on the spectrum. To explore these interests, she is part of Scott Murray’s lab, which is conducting a multimodal study employing EEG, structural and functional MRI, eye-tracking and psychophysics experiments to investigate differences in brain structure and activity in relation to behavior in autism.
Overall, Seczon recognizes the significant impact that graduate students can have on the undergraduate research experience and is eager to play a lead role.
Principal Investigator: Scott Murray
Fellow: Brenner Philbrook
Undergraduate Fellow Project: Neural differences of visual perception in autism
Our proposed project aims to investigate between-group differences in visual perception in relation to biological constructs using various research modalities, including EEG, MRI, eye-tracking and behavioral measures. The plentitude of data available offers numerous exciting research questions for a SURFiN fellow to explore.
Visual perception refers to our ability to perceive, interpret and respond to environmental stimuli. Studying visual perception in the context of psychopathology can provide a better understanding of specific cognitive and neural processes that differ in these conditions. In autism, visual perception differs in visual detection, motion perception and face processing tasks.
As a research assistant, the SURFiN fellow will gain valuable experience in research methods and techniques. They will have the opportunity to develop a variety of skills, including data analysis (which will include programming, although no prior experience is required), scientific reading, literature reviews and creating scientific poster presentations. This project is well-suitable for undergraduates with varying skill levels, including those with no prior research experience. Overall, we will work to tailor research goals that align with your interests and are most effective in helping you achieve long-term career goals.