Category: Events

ARC Centre for Cognition and its Disorders: Stakeholder’s workshop

29 April 2014, Macquarie University, Sydney

Registration is essential but free

This workshop, to be held at the Macquarie University node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), is a special opportunity to further develop and enhance collaborative links between CCD researchers and the organisations that benefit from their work.

With a theme of “sharing vision for future research impacts”, the day will commence with presentations by representatives from the CCD’s key stakeholder organisations outlining how each organisation supports the community and highlighting focus areas for 2014 and beyond.

These presentations will be followed by interactive demonstrations by CCD researchers from all three of the CCD’s nodes and tours of CCD and Cochlear facilities. There will also be opportunities for informal networking for researchers and stakeholders over the tea break, lunch and during drinks/canapés at the conclusion of the workshop.

Research facilities to be showcased include the KIT-Macquarie Brain Research Laboratory, the CCD’s state-of-art Liquid Helium Recovery System, and the research and development laboratories at Cochlear Ltd.

The KIT-Macquarie Brain Research Laboratory, which includes two world-first magnetoencephalography (MEG) brain imaging systems – one for investigating cognitive processing in children, and a custom-designed MEG system that can be used with children and adults with Cochlear Implants – is one of the world’s most advanced laboratories for brain research.

Dr Trevor Clark, Autism Spectrum Australia
Dr Molly de Lemos, Learning Difficulties Australia
Mr Bill Gye, OAM, Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW
Professor Greg Leigh, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Ms Alison McMurtrie, Learning Difficulties Australia
Mr Brendan Moore, Alzheimer’s Australia
Professor Jim Patrick, Cochlear, Ltd
Professor Leanne Togher, Speech Pathology Australia

For more information and to register for this event, visit:

Brain Sciences UNSW Colloquium: Social Cognition in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Prof Allan Reiss

Our interactions with other people are one of the most important aspects of day to day life. Our understanding of the neural underpinnings of social behaviors is increasing rapidly, along with recognition of how social function is impacted by developmental disorders such as Autism. However, disorders of social cognition can look very different between diagnoses and between individuals.

Prof Allan Reiss (Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research, Stanford University School of Medicine) will be comparing social behavior in two common genetic disorders, Fragile X and William’s Syndrome.

Dr Jon Brock (Macquarie University) will be discussing the complexity of impairments in social cognition in Autism, leading to significant heterogeneities between individuals despite sharing the same diagnosis.

When: Monday 17 March, 4 – 5 pm with refreshments afterwards (note this is a later date than has been previously advertised)

Where: Black Dog Institute Lecture Theatre, Hospital Road, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick

Seminar: Neural correlates of sensory subtypes in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Update: Professor Lane will also be presenting at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney University the day before (Thursday 27th). 11.30-12:30 in the Level 5 Boardroom, 94 Mallett Street Camperdown. For more details, contact Lisa Whittle. Tel: +61 2 9114 4104. Email:

Associate Professor Alison Lane from Newcastle University will be presenting on Neural correlates of sensory subtypes in Autism Spectrum Disorder at Macquarie University on Friday 28th February at 3pm. Earlier in the afternoon, we have two further presentations which may also be of interest. All are welcome.

Location: Australian Hearing Hub, Level 3, Room 3.610, Macquarie University. Directions

12-1pm: Dr Joana Cholin
Syllables in Speech Production: Storage versus Computation

2-3pm: Professor Wendy Best
Therapy with children with word-finding difficulties: use of a cueing aid and a comparison between interventions

3-4pm: Assoc Prof Alison Lane


Presentation by Professor David Skuse

David Skuse (3)Professor David Skuse is Chair of Behavioural and Brain Sciences at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and Honorary Consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK.

Title: Do brain hormones influence our social behaviour? If so, how – and why is it so important?

When: Friday 24th January 2014, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: Black Dog Institute Lecture Theatre – google maps location 

For more information, please contact Janett Baker on 9616 4205 or email

Seminar: Eye Movements in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

vb1.jpg_SIA - JPG - Fit to Width_144_trueSpeaker : Val Benson, University of Southamptom

Date : 22nd of November 2013, 2:00PM until 3:00PM

Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

All welcome

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term encompassing a range of developmental conditions principally characterised by impairments in social interaction, communication and cognitive flexibility. It remains unclear to what extent any social or cognitive difficulties experienced by people with ASD result from differences in sampling the environment, or differences in interpreting the information sampled, or both. In addition, perceptual and attentional atypicalities are observed in the disorder. Our current experiments have used eye-tracking methodology to explore these issues. Evidence from collaborative investigations on low-level eye-movement characteristics; perception of complex stimuli; and processing of and attention to social information suggests that simple information processing requirements across the different processing domains are intact in ASD, whereas more complex information processing requirements within the same processing domain are impaired. We emphasise the importance of using subtle eye movement metrics as a way of illustrating these group processing differences and explain how these findings link to contemporary theoretical accounts of autism.

Japanese autism research seminar at Macquarie University

Thursday 24th of January 2013, 11-1pm

The Australian Hearing Hub Meeting, Room 3.610, South Wing, Macquarie University

  • Introduction of the mission and program of Hokuriku Innovation Cluster for Health Science (HICHS)
  • Early diagnosis system of pervasive developmental disorders in young children
  • Brain activity and related network during moral judgment in autism -MEG study-
  • GPCRs play important roles in social behavior


Seminar from Liz Pellicano – Explaining altered sensation and perception in autism

Speaker : Liz Pellicano, Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) & Department of Psychology and Human Development , Institute of Education, University of London.
Date : 4th of December 2012, 4:00PM until 5:30PM
Location : C5C498 – Palermo Room, Macquarie University.

Autism is most well known for the way that it affects how a person interacts and communicates with others. But autism can affect behavior in other important and debilitating ways, such as in an intense desire for sameness and in sensory systems that work too well or not well enough. Researchers have largely overlooked these so-called sensory symptoms but their prominence in forthcoming diagnostic criteria calls for systematic investigation and explanation. In this talk, I suggest that the sensory and other non-social symptoms in autism might be caused by important differences in what an autistic person expects about incoming sensory signals and therefore how they interpret their significance. Within a Bayesian framework, I suggest that attenuated Bayesian priors – hypo-priors – may be responsible for the unique perceptual experience of autistic people, leading to a tendency to perceive the world more accurately rather than modulated by prior experience. I further consider how hypo-priors could help explain the range and idiosyncrasy of sensory sensitivities and their difficulties dealing with new experiences.

Seminar from Sander Begeer: Training theory of mind in autism

On 30th October, Sander Begeer is giving a seminar on “Training Theory of Mind in Autism” at the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University.

Speaker : Sander Begeer, School of Psychology, University of Sydney.

Date : 30th of October 2012, 4:00PM until 5:30PM

Location : Palermo Room,  C5C498, Macquarie University

Deviant perspective taking or Theory of Mind (ToM) skills are a central feature of autism. However, the literature is unclear about specific strengths and weaknesses of individuals with autism. This is partly due to the way ToM is measured. Moreover, many treatments for children with autism involve attempts to ‘train’ ToM skills, while the evidence base for these treatments is generally poor. In the current presentation, the effects of training ToM in children with autism will be discussed, with specific regard to passive or active social interaction styles of the children. The difference between conceptual and applied ToM skills is highlighted, and the question is raised whether ToM is a proclivity, rather than a capacity. Bio: Sander Begeer is a postdoctoral fellow, working on University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research and Endeavour Award Research Fellowships. His research focus is on autism, empathy and social emotional development. He is involved in various projects that highlight the assessment of social emotional problems in autism, the effect of treatment for some of these problems (Theory of Mind and emotion regulation), and the assessment of autism in ethnic minorities.

Autism workshop and public lecture, 5th December at Macquarie University


On Wednesday 5th December, Macquarie University is hosting a free autism research day.

From 2pm until 6pm will be a workshop featuring short presentations from researchers from around Australia on the topic of “What is Autism?” The workshop will also feature a presentation from a young man with Asperger syndrome, and an open discussion of forthcoming changes to autism diagnostic criteria.

Then from 6pm, there will be a public lecture from Prof Kevin Pelphrey of Yale University entitled “Searching for autism in the social brain”.

Although the events are free, registration is essential.

For details and registration, please follow this link.