Vanderbilt Social Emotional NeuroScience Endocrinology (SENSE) Lab

Supervisor(s): Blythe A. Corbett, Ph.D.

Location: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, One Magnolia Circle, Room 407B, 110 Magnolia Circle, Nashville, TN   37203

Clinical or Research Rotation: Clinical Research

Number of Positions Available: 1

Anticipated Number of Face-to-Face Clinical Hours per Week: 3-4


Description: The SENSE research program (funded by NIMH) focuses on the assessment and treatment of reciprocal social interaction and stress responsivity of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typical development.  The SENSE Lab is fundamentally multidisciplinary by combining students and scholars with diverse academic backgrounds in psychology, neuroscience, child development, psychiatry and quantitative methods.  Our translational research program focuses on characterizing biobehavioral profiles of ASD by utilizing several tools including neuropsychological measures, neuroimaging, physiological indices of stress and arousal and sophisticated behavioral observation tools.

Specific Activities: The primary focus of this rotation is the assessment of social cognition, behavior and functioning in children and adolescents with ASD especially as it relates to engagement with typically developing peers.  As part of the rotation, students will also be invited to participate in a novel intervention program that utilizes theater techniques and classic operant conditioning principles.

Assessment: training in diagnostic and neuropsychological assessment of children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  The majority of participants include children and adolescents between 7-17 years of age with and without ASD. Diagnostic measures include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Social Communication Questionnaire (as well as structured parent interview).

Intervention: SENSE Theatre intervention research program for youth with ASD that incorporates classic behavioral intervention strategies with theatre techniques in a peer-mediated, community-based treatment model.  

Time commitment: Rotation is held on Thursdays, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm. If interns choose to participate in the SENSE Theatre program, they are expected to attend all sessions, which are conducted on Saturdays 1:00-5:00 pm during the Winter or consecutive afternoons for two weeks in June for the summer session.

Competency Goals: By the end of the rotation, the intern will have learned the neuropsychological measures, which include the Wechsler Abbreviated Intelligence Scale (e.g., WASI, measurement of intellectual functioning), receptive and expressive language (e.g., Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test), as well as social cognitive processes using neuropsychological measures (NEPSY affect recognition, memory for faces, theory of mind), as well as parent questionnaires and self-report measures.

Prerequisites: Prior graduate level coursework and practicum experience in neuropsychological/cognitive assessment.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Dr. Blythe Corbett (