Life Span Institute - Profile

Christa J. Anderson, Ph.D.

Christa Anderson studies the neurocognitive development of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her research has focused on examining autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses in children with ASD. Specifically, she has examined eye-tracking responses, pupil size, salivary correlates of alpha-amylase and cortisol, and recently fMRI activation of brainstem regions during resting/baseline and social conditions. One of the primary goals of her research program is to use multiple levels of analysis to examine the development and functioning of the ANS to gain a better understanding of its presence and involvement in ASD and ultimately its role in producing ASD symptomology. A second goal of her research program is to identify biological markers that can be used in the early detection and screening of ASD in infancy.


Research Interest

Autonomic nervous system activity in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Biological indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorder to assist with early detection
Development and functioning of the brainstem in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Visual scanning (eye-tracking) of socially-relevant stimuli in Autism Spectrum Disorder


Current Studies

The Autism Research Laboratory is currently conducting a number of studies aimed at investigating the neurocognitive development of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are recruiting children with ASD for these studies.


Recent Publications

Journal Articles

• Anderson, C. J., Colombo, J., & Unruh, K. E. (2012). Pupil and salivary indicators of autonomic dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Psychobiology. doi: 10.1002/dev.21051

• Anderson, C. J., Colombo, J., and Shaddy, D. J. (2006). Visual scanning and pupillary responses in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28 (7), 1238 - 1256.

• Anderson, C. J., & Colombo, J. (2009). Larger tonic pupil size in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Psychobiology, 51(2), 207 – 211.

• Blaga, O. M., Shaddy, D.J., Anderson, C. J., Kannass, K. N., Little, T. D., & Colombo, J. (2008). Structure and continuity of intellectual development in early childhood, Intelligence, 37 (1), 106 – 113.

• Colombo, J., Kannass, K. N., Shaddy, D. J., Kundurthi, S., Maikranz, J. M., Anderson, C. J., Blaga, O. M., and Carlson, S. E. (2004). Maternal DHA and the development of attention in infancy and toddlerhood. Child Development, 75, 1254-1267.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Anderson, C. J., Gibson, L. J., Blaga, O. M., & Kannass, K. N. (2010). What habituates in infant visual habituation? A psychophysiological analysis. Infancy. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-7078.2009.00012.x

• Anderson, C. J., & Colombo, J. (under review). Pupil and salivary indicators in autism spectrum disorder

Book Chapters
• Anderson, C. J., and Colombo, J. (2003). Adolescence. In T. Ollendick and C. Schroeder (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Clinical and Pediatric Psychology (pp. 10-12). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

• Anderson, C. J., and Colombo, J. (2003). Emotional Development. In T. Ollendick and C. Schroeder (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Clinical and Pediatric Psychology (pp. 201-203). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

• Anderson, C. J., and Colombo, J. (2003). Identity Development. In T. Ollendick and C. Schroeder (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Clinical and Pediatric Psychology (pp. 303-305). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

• Anderson, C. J., and Colombo, J. (2003). Motor Development. In T. Ollendick and C. Schroeder (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Clinical and Pediatric Psychology (pp. 386-388). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Blaga. O. M., Anderson, C. J., Kannass, K. N., & Richman, W. A. (2009). Attentional predictors of vocabulary from infancy. In J. Colombo, P. McCardle, & L. Freund (Eds.) Infant pathways to language: Methods, models, and research directions (pp. 143 – 168). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Blaga, O. M., Anderson, C. J., and Kannass, K. N. (2009). High cognitive ability in infancy and early childhood. In F. D. Horwitz, R. F. Subotnik, & D. J. Matthews (Eds.), The Development of giftedness and talent across the life span (pp. 23-42). Washington DC: American Psychological Association Press.


Presentations

• Anderson, C. J. (2007, April). Visual scanning and pupillary responses in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Invited presentation at the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center 40th Anniversary.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Blaga. O. M., Anderson, C. J., and Kannass, K. N. (2005, December). High cognitive ability in infancy and early childhood. Presented at a conference on Incorporating Conceptions of Giftedness in Theories of Development, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Richman, W. A., Blaga, O. M., Anderson, C. J., Gibson, L., & Kannass, K. N. (2007, August). Visual habituation in human infants. Presented at Habituation: The Foundation of Learning and Attention, (Organizer: Catharine Rankin). University of British Colombia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Richman, W. A., Maikranz, J. M., Blaga, O. M., Kannass, K. N., and Anderson, C. J. (2004). The development of infant attention: Course and consequences. Paper presented at the International Society on Infant Studies, Chicago, IL.

• Fowler, S. C., Caruso, M., and Anderson, C. J. (2003). Differential sensitivity of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice to haloperidol's motor effects measured in a force-plate actometer. American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, San Diego, CA.


Posters

• Anderson, C. J. (2009, April). Larger tonic pupil size in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, CO.

• Anderson, C. J., and Colombo, J. (2005, April). Visual scanning and pupillary responses in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

• Anderson, C. J., Rawlings, J., and Colombo, J. (2007, March). Spontaneous motor behavior and heart-rate defined phases of attention during visual habituation. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA.

• Blaga, O., Shaddy, D. J., Anderson, C. J., Colombo, J., and Little, T. D. (2007, March). Structural and predictive outcomes of standardized assessments from 12 to 48 months. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA.

• Carlson, S. E., Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Maikranz, J. M., Kundurthi, S., Anderson, C. J., Kannass, K. N., and Blaga, O. M. (2003, April). Maternal physiology and its effects on infant behavior and cognitive development. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL.

• Carlson, S. E., Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Maikranz, J. M., Kundurthi, S., Anderson, C. J., Kannass, K. N., Blaga, O. M. (2003, April). Maternal DHA Levels and the Development of Attention. Poster presented at the conference for the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL.

• Colombo, J., Kannass, K. N., Kundurthi, S., Shaddy, D. J., Maikranz, J. M., Anderson, C. J., Blaga, O. M., and Carlson, S. (2004). Maternal DHA levels and the development of attention in infancy. Poster presented at the World Association for Infant Mental Health meeting in Melbourne, Australia.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Anderson, C. J., Blaga, O. M., Writt-Haas, D. M., and Kannass, K. N. (2005, April). Estimation and processing of time intervals in infancy. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

• Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Blaga, O. M., Anderson, C. J., Kannass, K. N., & Gibson, L. (2008, March). What habituates in infant habituation? A psychophysiological analysis. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Vancouver.


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Assistant Research Professor,
Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas


Ph.D., University of Kansas, Psychology with Honors

M.A., University of Kansas, Psychology

B.A., Alaska Pacific University, Psychology, Magna Cum Laude Honors

Link to CV


Contact:

The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies
1052 Dole Human Development Center
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence,KS 66045
785-864-6485
cjanders@ku.edu

For more information on my research program or studies that we are conducting please visit our lab website

To connect with other families, please consider joining our meetup group.
http://www.meetup.com/Autism-Society/


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