Jed T. Elison, PhD

Assistant Professor, Institute of Child Development

Jed T. Elison

Contact Info

Office Address:
Institute of Child Development
176 ChDev
51 East River Road

Assistant Professor, Institute of Child Development

Center for Neurobehavioral Development

Doctoral Degree, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2011


My research examines basic developmental processes that contribute to individual differences in social communication during the infant and toddler period. Much of the work in my lab operates under the assumption that attentional orienting is a fundamental catalyst for early cognitive and social cognitive development. Orienting to the most salient and/or biologically relevant information in the social environment requires flexible and efficient selective visual attention. Following this logic, efficient information processing requires rapid and efficient signal transmission, therefore a large effort in my lab includes characterizing individual differences in the microstructural organization and development of white matter fiber tracts using Diffusion Weighted Imaging.

What began as a focus on quantifying cognitive and behavioral measures in a manner that would be more amenable to examining brain-behavior associations during infancy has transformed into investigating dimensional constructs relevant to emerging psychopathology. Taking a developmental stance on the endophenotype concept will be a theoretical and empirical challenge that will likely keep my lab busy for the foreseeable future. Finally, I have enduring interests in the pathogenesis of autism. Much of my work to date has focused on the identification of risk factors that differentiate infants who later develop autism from other infants. 


Research Summary/Interests

Developmental social neuroscience, structural brain development and social cognition, visual attention, joint attention, eye tracking, MRI, DWI, autism, and emerging psychopathology


  • Elison, J.T., Wolff, J.J., Reznick, J.S., Botteron, K.N., Estes, A.M., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Meadows, A.J., Paterson, S.J., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven, J. for the IBIS Network. (in press). Repetitive behavior in 12-month-olds later classified with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Wolff, J.J., Botteron, K.N., Dager, S.R., Elison, J.T., Estes, A.M., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Pandey, J., Paterson, S.J., Schultz, R.T., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven, J. for the IBIS Network. (2014). Longitudinal patterns of repetitive behavior in toddlers with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 945-953.
  • Elison, J.T., Paterson, S.J., Wolff, J.J., Reznick, J.S., Sasson, N.J., Gu, H., Botteron, K.N., Dager, S.R., Estes, A.M., Evans, A.C., Gerig, G., Hazlett, H.C., Schultz, R.T., Styner, M., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven J. for the IBIS Network. (2013). White matter microstructure and atypical visual orienting in 7-month-olds at risk for autism. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 899-908.
  • Elison, J.T., Wolff, J.J., Heimer, D.C., Paterson, S.J., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Styner, M., Gerig, G., & Piven, J for the IBIS Network (2013). Frontolimbic neural circuitry at 6 months predicts individual differences in joint attention at 9 months. Developmental Science, 16, 186-197.
  • Short, S.J., Elison, J.T., Goldman, B.D., Styner, M., Gu, H., Connelly, M., Maltbie, E., Woolson, S., Lin, W., Gerig, G., Reznick, J.S., & Gilmore, J.H. (2013). Associations between white matter microstructure and infants’ working memory. Neuroimage, 64, 156-166.
  • Elison, J.T., Sasson, N.J., Turner-Brown, L.M., Dichter, G., Bodfish, J.W. (2012). Age trends in visual exploration of social and nonsocial information in children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 842-851.
  • Wolff, J.J., Gu, H., Gerig, G., Elison, J.T., Styner, M., Gouttard, S., Botteron, K.N., Dager, S.R., Dawson, G., Estes, A.M., Evans, A.C., Hazlett, H.C., Kostopoulos, P., McKinstry, R.C., Paterson, S.J., Schultz, R.T., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven J. for the IBIS Network (2012). Differences in white matter fiber tract development present from 6 to 24 months in infants with autism. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 589-600.
  • Sasson, N.J. & Elison, J.T. (2012). Eye tracking young children with autism. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 61, doi:pii: 3675.10.3791/3675.
  • Elison, J.T. & Reznick, J.S. (2012). Core Components of Flexibly Attending: Summary and Synthesis of Reflexive Orienting in Autism. In J. Burack, J.T. Enns, & N.A. Fox (Editors) Cognitive Neuroscience, Development, and Psychopathology: Typical and Atypical Pathways in Attentional Processing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Sasson, N.J., Elison, J.T., Turner-Brown, L.M., Dichter, G.S., & Bodfish, J.W. (2011). Circumscribed attentional in young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 242-247.