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A Comprehensive Approach to Research and Innovation

Allison Gabouer

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychological Sciences from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. While at Purdue, I worked in Dr. Amy Schwichtenberg's lab where she was interested in early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in infant siblings of children who had already received an ASD diagnosis.


My current research program with Dr. Bortfeld examines parent-child
interactions, with a special interest in the child's hearing status. More
specifically, we are interested in how hearing parents engage their deaf
child, knowing their child will receive auditory information in the (near)
future, via a cochlear implant. We currently are investigating which sensory
modality (audition, vision, touch) parents opt for when attempting to direct
their child's attention and how they are engaging their child in
communicative instances of joint attention. With the research, we hope to
help inform "best-practice" information for hearing families with a deaf
infant, prior to the child receiving a cochlear implant.
I have a second line of research in which Dr. Bortfeld and I collaborate with
Dr. Rose Scott. With Dr. Scott, we are interested in how children reason
about another person's behavior when the person has an incorrect view of the
world. We are currently testing 25-29-month-old infants in a looking-time
based measure of false-belief expectations. Current research related to
false-belief suggests that maternal episodes of massive depression hinder
infants ability to pass this task. My goal is to first, replicate these
findings in younger infants using novel stimuli. Then I want to examine these
parent-child interactions using a similar methodology for the hearing
parent-deaf child dyads, to see if we can uncover a mechanism of, perhaps,
communication and interaction that relates to the ability to reason about

Dr. Heather Bortfield
Graduate Group: