Eileen Crehan

Eileen Crehan

Academic Leave
105 College Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest: Neurodevelopmental disorders; autism spectrum disorder; sexuality education; social perception; eye tracking; dimensional measurement of psychological symptoms

Education

  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Vermont, United States, 2016
  • BA, Mathematics and Psychology, Wellesley College, United States

Biography

Current Projects
•Sexuality education survey: This survey assesses for autistic symptoms and exposure to and satisfaction with sexuality education programming. This survey is being distributed nationally to adults with and without autism and their caregivers.
•Sexuality education programming: This study offers sexuality education programs to teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
•Eye tracking and the stare-in-the crowd effect: The stare-in-the-crowd (SITC) effect describes the phenomenon of quickly detecting self-directed gaze in a crowd. This effect has been observed to be impacted by the presence of autistic symptoms in young adults using eye tracking paradigms. Currently, we are seeking to describe this phenomenon in adolescents and children, and to understand how the SITC presents across a range of psychological disorders and characteristics.

As a clinical scientist, my research efforts center on social impairments and social functioning of adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. My work employs eye tracking and psychophysiological monitoring systems to capture the nuances of social perception and response. I have applied these approaches to better understand social cognition in ASD, as well as to examine how social communication and perspective-taking impact gaze behavior, emotion perception, and physiological arousal transdiagnostically. In addition to perception, I am interested in the development of programming relating to sexuality and relationship formation for autistic individuals. I seek to address content limitations and accessibility challenges relating to current sexuality education programs. My work seeks to improve the rigor of sex education research through integration of both clinical trial and implementation research methodologies, with the goal of developing educational programming which addresses critical issues such as sexuality, pursuing and maintaining relationships, and physical and emotional safety. The role of self-advocates and family advocates in the design and implementation of my research is very important to me.