Sensori-Motor and Socio-Emotional Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Christiana Butera, Ed, M.,
Christiana Butera is a PhD candidate in the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California. She works under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Aziz-Zadeh in the Center for the Neuroscience of Embodied Cognition at the Brain and Creativity Institute. Christiana graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in Psychology and received her masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Mind, Brain and Education. She is particularly interested in connections between sensori-motor and socio-emotional networks in the brain, embodied cognition, social understanding, and emotion processing. Her work involves understanding these mechanisms across typically developing and clinical populations, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, stroke, and developmental coordination disorder, using behavioral and functional brain imaging techniques (EEG, MRI). Her dissertation thesis probes relationships between interoception, emotion processing, and empathy in autism spectrum disorder both at the behavioral and neural level. Her future goals include studying the impact of motor interventions and exercise on the neural mechanisms of embodied cognition, empathy, identity, and well-being in neurodiverse populations.