Melissa J. Allman, PhD

  • Faculty, Training Faculty, Behavioral & Systems

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Ph.D., 2004, Cardiff University, Wales UK

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 206 Giltner Hall

Psychology Directory

Research Interests

I conducted my PhD in behavioral neuroscience working with rodents on Pavlovian studies of mediated conditioning (learning about stimuli that are being remembered, and generalization and discrimination effects) in the UK. I then worked for several years as a postdoc in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in an affiliated facility for children with disorders of brain and spinal cord, Kennedy Krieger Institute, in the department of Behavioral Psychology. There I worked on (related, but very different) projects with inpatient children with autism and developmental disabilities, using operant behavior principles (focused on the role of the environment in supporting behavior) to treat aberrant behaviors for which they were receiving treatment interventions (e.g., self-injury, aggression). I also worked on several neuroimaging projects, in children with autism and ‘normal’ adults, and a variety of behavioral and cognitive tasks. I currently have a NICHD Pathway to Independence (K99) award to examine interval timing in autism, and have a temporal deficit hypothesis of autism—which may account for the defining features of the disorder, and which has intuitive appeal given timing and time perception is (phylogenically and ontologically) a basic building block for behavior and cognition. I am interested in timing at the neural, behavioral and cognitive levels, in its development from birth to old age, and how the subjective experience of time can be pathologically disordered in certain clinical populations. Given the breadth of my research experience and interests, and my collaborative nature, I welcome interactions with other faculty and students in the Neuroscience program.

From the dual perspective of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, I am principally interested in learning and temporal integration processes in the brain, and the correspondence to cognition and behavior, particularly as this relates to development and psychopathology. A current research focus is timing and time perception in autism.