Neurocognitive Development Lab (Rivera)

The Neurocognitive Development Lab employs a variety of converging research techniques to elucidate the complex brain-behavior relationships that underlie cognitive development.

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Research Topics

Typical Development

Our research in typical development encompasses the areas of concept formation and quantitative reasoning. We study these topics in infants as well as children from about 4 to 15 years of age.


Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain, the symptoms of which typically appear during the first three years of life. It occurs in approximately 15 out of every 10,000 births and is four times more prevalent in males than females. Autism can affect the processing, integrating, and organizing of information and significantly impacts communication, social interaction, and functional skills.

Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation. It is a genetic disorder resulting from an expanding trinucleotide (CGG) repeat on the X chromosome. When the number of repeats is 200 or more, the fragile X gene is silenced, leading to a lack of FMRP (fragile X mental retardation protein).

Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability, with an incidence of 1 in 800 births. It is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 which leads to deficits in a number of cognitive areas including math and language.