Professor Bennetto's research interests focus on the neurocognitive bases of autism and other developmental disorders. Her recent work examines the role of multisensory processing in social-communication difficulties and in everyday behaviors, including restricted food preferences.
My program of research is broadly directed at examining the neurocognitive bases of developmental disabilities, with the ultimate goal of understanding how atypical neurocognitive development relates to deficits in social-communication difficulties as well as everyday difficulties with adaptive functioning. My lab focuses primarily on understanding autism spectrum disorders, but we have also been working to understand other developmental disorders such as Down syndrome, as well as normal developmental processes.
Our recent work examines the role of multisensory processing in several domains, including social communication and feeding. Some of our current projects in the domain of social communication in autism examine audiovisual speech perception, hearing-in-noise perception (including both speech-in-noise and music-in-noise), speech-and-gesture production and comprehension, and the role of atypical sensorimotor function in facial expressiveness. Our research on feeding investigates the role of multisensory processing in the development of restrictive food preferences (picky eating) in children with autism. We are interested in understanding the relative roles of sensory functions (including taste and olfaction), behavioral factors (e.g., restricted behavior style, neophobia), and family preferences on eating behaviors.