Allison E Jack

Allison E Jack

Allison E Jack

Assistant Professor

Autism spectrum disorders, fMRI, cerebellum, sex differences, social perception

Allison Jack, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at George Mason University. She received her BA in Psychology and English at the College of William & Mary, followed by a PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Virginia and postdoctoral training at the Yale Child Study Center via a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant and the Yale School of Medicine James Hudson Brown-Alexander B. Coxe Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her background includes training in child psychopathology, social cognitive neuroscience, and imaging genetics, with specialization in neuroimaging and assessment of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her published work includes peer-reviewed articles on ASD and social brain function in Human Brain Mapping, Scientific Reports, Cerebral Cortex, and the Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, among others. Prior to entering an academic career, she was involved in the instruction and care of children with ASDs and co-occurring intellectual disability. This experience motivated her to focus her research on the etiology of ASDs (that is, factors that contribute to the development of autism), especially how aspects of brain structure and function can help us better predict social behavior and ASD treatment outcomes. She has a particular interest in autistic girls and women, who are understudied and under-represented relative to boys and men on the spectrum. Her primary current project involves combining information from fMRI, behavior, and genetics to explore what makes autistic girls unique.

Current Research

I anticipate taking graduate students for Fall 2021. Diverse applicants, including neurodiverse applicants, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Current projects include:

  • An fMRI study of cerebellar contributions to learning in autistic and neurotypical adolescents
  • MRI & online studies of elevated autistic traits in women and nonbinary individuals

Selected Publications

Jack, A. & Pelphrey, K.A. (2017). Understudied populations within the autism spectrum: Current trends and future directions in neuroimaging research. J Child Psychol Psychiatr, 58: 411-35. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12687

Jack, A., Keifer, C.M., & Pelphrey, K.A. (2017). Cerebellar contributions to biological motion perception in autism and typical development. Hum Brain Mapp, 38:1914-32. doi:10.1002/hbm.23493 PMCID: PMC5342927 

Gordon, I.*, Jack, A.* (*Co-first authors), Pretzsch, C. M., Vander Wyk, B., Leckman, J.F., Feldman, R., & Pelphrey, K. (2016). Intranasal oxytocin enhances connectivity in the neural circuitry supporting social motivation and social perception in children with autism. Sci Rep, 6: 35054. doi:10.1038/srep35054

Jack, A. & Pelphrey, K. A. (2015). Neural correlates of animacy attribution include neocerebellum in healthy adults. Cereb Cortex, 25:4240-47. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu146 PMCID: PMC4626832

Jack, A. & Morris, J. P. (2014). Neocerebellar contributions to social perception in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Dev Cogn Neurosci, 10:77-92. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2014.08.001

Jack, A., Connelly, J.J., & Morris, J.P. (2012). DNA methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene predicts neural response to ambiguous social stimuli. Front Hum Neurosci, 6:280. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00280

Jack, A., Englander, Z.A., & Morris, J.P. (2011). Subcortical contributions to effective connectivity in brain networks supporting imitation. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3689-98. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.09.024

Expanded Publication List

Courses Taught

PSYC 313 Child Development

PSYC 100 Basic Concepts in Psychology


2012-2016 - Postdoctoral training, Yale University, Child Study Center

2012 - PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Virginia, Dept. of Psychology

2005 - BAs, Psychology & EnglishCollege of William & Mary