Margot Taylor’s research centers on the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional MRI (fMRI) to understand the neural bases of cognitive development. Areas of study assess structural and functional brain correlates with performance on high-level cognitive skills, which include the development of emotional processes, inhibition, theory of mind and working memory, using protocols adapted for children.
Long-standing interests and research have focused on very early development in typical and clinical populations (children through to adults with autism, preterm-born children followed longitudinally from birth). These studies have established the neural bases and temporal and spatial properties of the development of cognitive skills and how these abilities emerge with development and correspond to behavior. This research provides powerful means of determining brain development starting from the preterm period, to understand the cognitive difficulties over early childhood and into adulthood.
Of particular importance to Taylor’s current project is her major focus on children with autism over the years, with studies investigating structural (i.e., MRI, including cortical thickness and deep grey matter volumes, and diffusion tensor imaging) and functional (including a range of executive and cognitive-social tasks, as well as task-free analyses in fMRI and MEG) correlates of cognitive and social behaviors, from young children through to mid-adulthood participants with autism.