Dr. Matthew Belmonte


Dr. Matthew Belmonte's research centres on connecting cognitive deficits and superiorities in autism, from lower-level perceptual and attentional skills to higher-level social cognitive skills. He approaches this problem from the perspective of neurophysiology. His previous work provided physiological evidence to support the idea that people with autism do not rapidly and flexibly enhance relevant stimuli at early stages of sensory processing, and instead resort to amplifying everything (hyper-arousal) and then suppressing irrelevant stimuli at a later, computationally less efficient stage. In simple terms, either everything is turned on or everything is shut off.

His work also examined the neurophysiological bases of cognitive similarities between people with autism spectrum conditions and their first-degree relatives. He came to the study of autism late, after studying computer science and English literature as an undergraduate. His postgraduate work took place in San Diego and Boston, USA, with some time off in New York working as a computer programmer and a writer. Both his brother and niece have autism. He worked at the ARC in Cambridge as postdoc conducting sibling studies using fMRI, and is now a Reader in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, and he has collaborations at the National Brain Centre in India, where he worked after Cambridge.


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