Child Development in Context Lab
Alexandra Catherine Dowd graduated Cum Laude in Psychology from Harvard University in 2011. She completed her thesis in the Laboratory for Developmental Studies under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Spelke, exploring if 9-month-old infants understand how to take a person’s object preferences into account when helping that person acquire an object. After graduation, she spent two years working as a Research Assistant in the Yale Early Social Cognition Laboratory with Dr. Katarzyna (Kasia) Chawarska and Dr. Frederick Shic, where she initiated two research projects that were presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research. These projects assessed the presence and developmental trajectories of various regulatory and affective responses and social deficits throughout the second year of life in infants later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Alexandra joined the CDCL and Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program in 2013 where she continues researching the emergence and development of prodromal symptoms of ASD. She received her Master's degree in 2015. Her Master's Thesis assessed how social impairment and familiarity impact the development of empathy during the second year of life in infants at high- and low-risk for ASD. She is currently working on her dissertation, utilizing a longitudinal study design, repeatedly assessing infants from 12 to 24 months of age, to explore how social development unfolds over time.