Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

University of Maryland, College Park

Meet the Team!



    Lab Director


  • Elizabeth Redcay  

    Elizabeth Redcay is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the director of the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science from UCSD and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in MIT's Brain & Cognitive Sciences department before starting at UMD. CV

  • Postdoctoral Associates


  • Yaqiong Xiao  

    Yaqiong Xiao is a postdoctoral research associate in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab. Before joining the lab, she was a Ph.D. student in Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and received her Ph.D. degree from Leipzig University in February 2017. In her thesis, she focused on brain development in preschool children and its relation to language processing and development using the resting-state fMRI technique. She currently aims to investigate the neural basis of social cognitive processes in typically and atypically developing children.

  • Santiago Morales Pamplona  

    Santiago is a postdoctoral fellow at the Child Development Lab and a postdoc collaborator/affiliate in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2017 under the mentorship of Kristin Buss and Koraly Pérez-Edgar. Santiago's research has focused on the development emotion, emotion regulation, and temperament in children by using psychophysiological, neurobiological, and behavioral measures. For instance, some of his work has examined what factors, such as how children process social information, help us determine which children develop socioemotional problems. Currently, he is studying the role of attention and motor activity in the emergence of social cognition though the mirror neuron program project grant.

  • Heather Yarger  

    Heather Yarger is a postdoctoral associate in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph. D. in Clinical Science at the University of Delaware in 2018 under the mentorship of Mary Dozier. She completed her clinical internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Child and Family Therapy and Behavior Management Clinics. Heather’s research has focused on identifying risk and protective factors of dysregulation in childhood, evaluating the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving parenting quality in high-risk populations (e.g., Child Protective Services involved parents, parents adopting internationally), and understanding the complex presentations of mental health diagnoses in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Sarah Dziura  

    Sarah Dziura is a postdoctoral research associate in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology, concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, from George Mason University in 2018. While at George Mason, she worked in Dr. Jim Thompson’s Computational Social Neuroscience Group (CSNG) lab. Sarah’s graduate research focused on the perception and neural representation of non-verbal social stimuli and the link between this and social behavior, in particular relating to social networks and network information. She is currently investigating the effect of social context during naturalistic processing.






  • Graduate Students


  • Dustin Moraczewski  

    Dustin is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program and a member of the DSCN lab. He received his B.A. in Psychology and a B.F.A. in Music Performance from Marshall University. Prior to graduate school he worked as a group home manager for adults and a behavior therapist for foster children with autism and other developmental disabilities. He also worked in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience lab at Florida International University. He is interested in exploring functional connectivity and network analysis of the developing social brain in typical individuals and those with autism.

  • Diana Alkire  

    Diana is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) PhD program. She received a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy in 2012 from the University of Maryland, where she was a research assistant in the Maryland Child and Family Development Lab and the Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Lab. More recently, she worked as a full-time research assistant at the Center for the Study of Learning, a neuroimaging lab at Georgetown University that uses structural and functional MRI to study learning disabilities such as dyslexia. For her graduate studies, she is interested in exploring the neural correlates of social cognition in typical development, as well as in those with autism and social anxiety.

  • Kathryn McNaughton  

    Kathryn is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science PhD program. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Williams College in 2016, she conducted electrophysiology and eye-tracking research as a Sara. S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center for two years. She is interested in examining the neural markers of social interactions in children who are typically developing and children who are on the autism spectrum.

  • Junaid Merchant  

    Junaid is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science PhD program. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a dual major in psychology and art, and went on to get a Master’s of Science in experimental psychology/behavioral neuroscience from Seton Hall University. He has remained an active researcher in social and affective neuroscience since his MS--through his work at University of Oregon, he has co-authored fMRI papers ranging in topics from self-referential processing in autism, to the neural substrates of inhibitory control training. He is interested in exploring the dynamics of brain networks across social and affective contexts, and using this approach to further our understanding human brain function.

  • Lab Manager


  • Jacqueline Thomas  

    Jacqueline is the lab manager in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of California, Davis in 2018. During her time at UC Davis she worked as a research assistant in the Neurocognitive Development Lab studying both typically and atypically developing individuals using infrared eye tracking techniques, as well as the Personality and Self-Knowledge Lab studying people's perceptions of their own and others' personality. Her future plans are to go to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

  • Sydney Maniscalco  

    Sydney is the lab manager in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She received her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior with a minor in Psychology from the University of California, Davis in 2016. During her time at UC Davis she worked as a research assistant in the Neurocognitive Development Lab studying both typically and atypically developing individuals using infrared eye tracking techniques. Her future plans are to go to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience.

  • Technical Assistants


  • Aiste Cechaviciute

    Aiste is a technical assistant in the DSCN Lab. She is a post-baccalaureate, having graduate from Temple University in 2017 where she studied Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. While at Temple, she worked as a research assistant at the Centre of Neural Decision Making (CNDM), where she studied the effects of emotion on temporal discounting. She is interested in cognition and decision making, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience or Cognitive Neuroscience in the future.

  • Adnan Rashid

    Adnan Rashid is a post-baccalaureate in the lab, having received the degree in Biology with focus on Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland. He is interested in the brain networks that are involved in emotion, threat anticipation, and social cognition. He is involved in the JAM project at DSCN and hopes to earn a Ph.D in Cognitive Neuroscience in the future.

  • Deena Shariq

    Deena is a post-baccalaureate technical assistant in the DSCN Lab. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2018 where she studied Biology with a concentration in Physiology and Neurobiology. During her time at UMD, she was a research assistant at the Laboratory for the Neurodevelopment of Reading and Language (LNRL). Here, she studied social comprehension in individuals on the autism spectrum as well as the effect of working memory training on individuals who are genetically predisposed for Alzheimer’s disease. At the DSCN lab, she is working on the JAM study which is examining neural networks associated with social processing. She is interested in studying the cognitive neuroscience of emotions and consciousness. She aspires to receive a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in the future.

  • Undergraduate Research Assistants


  • Alexandra Hickey

    Alexandra is a junior pursuing a B.S in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. After graduating, she hopes to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

  • Sarah Rivas

    Sarah Rivas is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelors in Neurobiology and Physiology. She is also a member of the Design, Cultures, and Creativity--a program in the Honors College. After receiving her B.A. she plans to attend medical school to become a neurosurgeon.

  • Matthew Kiely

    Matt is a sophomore pursuing a Chemistry and Physiology and Neurobiology double degree. He is a member of the University Honors Program through the University of Maryland's Honors College, and he is also a member of the Mighty Sound of Maryland.

  • Micah Plotkin

    Micah is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. He was a member of the Global Public Health Scholars program. After graduating, Micah plans to attend medical school.

  • Aranje Sripanjalingam

    Aranje is a senior Electrical Engineering planning on attending medical school. He is part of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program and hopes to one day revolutionize people's experience at the doctor's office. Aranje loves to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle among peers, hence why he is a proud employee of RecWell.

  • Dominic Smith-DiLeo

    Dominic is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Physiology. He is also a member of the University Honors program of the Honors College at the University of Maryland. After graduating, he hopes to attend medical school and become a physician.

  • Aliceann Trostle

    Aliceann is a sophomore pursuing a Neurobiology and Physiology degree. She is a member of the University's College Park Scholars program in Science, Discovery, and the Universe. She also plays the alto saxophone in the Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band as well as the University Pep Band.

  • Lab Alumni


  • Laura Kirby

    Dylan Selbst

    Debbie Choi

    Sabine Huber

    Hunter Rogoff

    Zoey Maggid

    Tova Rosenthal

    Erin Brine-Dolye

    Ishan Shah

    Alex Mangerian

    Eleonora Sadikova

    Morgan Biggs

    Jazlyn Nketia

    Meredith Pecukonis

    Kate Rice Warnell

    Liat Hotz

    Joana Romero

    Stephanie Goncalves

    Alexis Pappadeas

    Stephanie Golding

    Lesley Sand

    Jennifer Trinchere

    Cashmire Norfleet

    Katherine Calabrese

    Helen Kong

    Jessica Golding

    Harrison Pierce

    Eric Czinn

    Tara Feld

    Brogan Murphy

    Eric Meyer

    Toby Hamovitz

    Lindsey Benjamin

    Simren Kanwal

    Ishaan Parikh

    Brieana Viscomi

    Daniel O'Young

    Nina Lichtenberg

    Ruth Ludlum

    Jeremy Baker

    Viviana Bauman

    Shannon Coveney

    Robert Cai