Matthew Lerner, Ph.D.
University of Virginia (2013)
Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology
Office: Psychology B-354
Office Hours: Flexible, by appointment
Phone Number: (631) 632-7660

Areas of Interest:
Elucidating novel models of and processes underlying social functioning in youth; Design and development of empirically-supported social competency interventions for youth with developmental disorders (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorders & Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder); Therapeutic process variables (mediators and moderators of outcomes) in social competency intervention research; Developmental psychopathological and neuroplastic models of social competence deficits; Peer relations and their impact on developmental psychopathology.

Current Research:
The ability to connect with peers and develop friendships is among the most crucial and complex developments in youth. While this capacity develops easily for most children, some, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), experience persistent social challenges. Surprisingly little is known about the perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral processes that may go awry in these populations as they pertain to social functioning. Elucidating these processes is important for revealing the subtle capacities necessary for typical, fluid social functioning, and necessary for development and refinement of interventions to improve such functioning.

Dr. Lerner uses methods drawn from basic development, developmental psychopathology, social neuroscience, and controlled trials research to explore how basic, often novel processes impact social development. He also designs and implements interventions to learn whether these processes may be causally related to social functioning, with the aim of improving long-term outcomes for populations with social challenges. His work considers how youth see, think about, and act on their physical and social environment. He uses this focus on perception, cognition, and behavior to develop new models of how social functioning occurs and may be impacted through intervention.

Dr. Lerner's lab capitalizes on research strategies including advanced quantitative methods (e.g., multilevel modeling), electrophysiology (i.e. event-related potentials [ERP]) and multi-method assessment (e.g., observational, diagnostic, and self-report). These strategies are employed via community-based procedures, clinic-based intervention designs (i.e. randomized controlled trial [RCT]), and lab-based controlled designs to conduct both descriptive and applied research to answer questions of typical and atypical social development. Please visit his website to learn more about his current studies.

Representative Publications:

Lerner, M.D., McPartland, J.C., Morris, J.P. (2013). Multimodal emotion processing in autism spectrum disorders: an event-related potential study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience,3, 11 - 21.

Lerner, M.D., McLeod, B.D., Mikami, A.Y. (2013). Preliminary evaluation of an observational measure of group cohesion for group psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69, 191 - 208.

Mikami, A.Y., Griggs, M.S., Lerner, M.D., Emeh, C.C., Reuland, M.M., Jack, A., Anthony, M.R. (2013). A randomized trial of a classroom intervention to increase peers’ social inclusion of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 100 – 112.

Lillard, A.S., Lerner, M.D., Hopkins, E.J., Dore, R.A., Smith, E.D., Palmquist, C.M. (2013). The impact of pretend play on children's development: a review of the evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 1 – 34.

Linkenauger, S., Lerner, M.D., Ramenzoni, V., Proffitt, D. (2012). A perceptual-motor deficit predicts social and communicative impairments in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Research, 5, 352 - 362.

Lerner, M.D., White, S.W., McPartland, J.C. (2012). Mechanisms of change in psychosocial interventions for autism spectrum disorders. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 14, 307 – 318.

Lerner, M.D., Mikami, A.Y. (2012). A preliminary randomized controlled trial of two social skills interventions for youth with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27, 145-155.

Lerner, M.D., Haque, O.S., Northrup, E.C., Lawer, L., Bursztajn H.J. (2012) Emerging perspectives on adolescents and young adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorders, violence, and criminal law. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 40, 177 - 190.

Lerner, M.D., Calhoun, C.D., Mikami, A.Y., De Los Reyes, A. (2012). Understanding parent-child social informant discrepancy in youth with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 2680 - 2692.

Lerner, M.D., Mikami, A.Y., McLeod, B.D. (2011). The alliance in a friendship coaching intervention for parents of children with ADHD. Behavior Therapy, 42, 449 - 461.

Lerner, M.D., Hutchins, T., Prelock, P. (2011). Brief report: preliminary evaluation of the Theory of Mind Inventory (ToMI) and its relationship to measures of social skills. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(4), 512–517.

Lerner, M.D., Mikami, A.Y., Levine, K. (2011). Socio-Dramatic Affective-Relational Intervention for adolescents with Asperger syndrome & high-functioning autism: pilot study. Autism: The International Journal of Research & Practice, 15, 21 – 42.

Mikami, A.Y. Lerner, M.D., Griggs, M.S., McGrath, A., Calhoun, C.D. (2010). Parental influence on children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: II. A pilot intervention training parents as friendship coaches for their children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38(6), 737-749.

Mikami, A.Y., Lerner, M.D., Lun, J. (2010). Social context influences on children’s rejection by their peers. Child Development Perspectives, 4(2), 123 - 130.