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Melody Altschuler
Dr. Melody R. Altschuler
Assistant Professor of Psychology|Psychology
Melody Altschuler
Office Location
Frost 201
Office Hours
  • Mondays/Wednesdays (Frost 201, drop in): 2:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Tuesdays/Thursdays (Frost 201, drop in): 12 – 1 PM
  • Tuesdays (Berea hiking trails, stop by or email me before 3 PM if you want to join): 3 – 4 PM
  • Also, by appointment (including evenings), or really, whenever my door open.

I am committed to promoting equity and social justice in my research and teaching through creating inclusive spaces and amplifying the voices of traditionally underrepresented and marginalized students. I also strive to promote neurodiversity through advancing a strength-based model about how individuals adapt to their underlying propensities and environmental circumstances, rather than the traditional deficit-based lens.

My major research interests lie in the formulation of an integrative neurobiological and developmental theory that can account for both neurotypical and neurodivergent forms of ontogenesis. As a developmental psychologist, I use the tools of cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychopathology to reveal the psychological and neurodevelopmental mechanisms of (mal)adaptation across development. My work incorporates quantitative, developmental, clinical, and neuroscience methods. Using the theoretical framework of developmental psychopathology (Cicchetti, 1984; Cicchetti & Cohen, 1995; Cicchetti & Toth 2009), my program of research addresses the following questions using multiple levels of analysis (i.e., brain, behavior, and cognition):

1. What are the mechanisms underlying the development of social cognition and self-regulation skills?
2. What is the empirically defined dimensional structure of (mal)adaptation?
3. What are the developmental processes contributing to compensation (i.e., adaptive behavioral presentation, despite underlying cognitive or neurobiological vulnerabilities)?

Establishing the (1) underlying mechanisms and (2) empirically defined structure of (mal)adaptation from a dimensional perspective (Altschuler & Krueger, 2021) improves our conceptualization of adaptation and therefore enables discovery of (3) the developmental processes involved in adaptation despite underlying cognitive or neurobiological vulnerabilities. Through uncovering the developmental and neurobiological processes that support children’s adaptation, I aim to inform efforts that promote neurodiversity and adaptation across the lifespan.

  • Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, University of Minnesota, 2023
  • B.A. in Psychology, Bates College, 2017
Publications & Works
  • Lee, C. M., Altschuler, M. R., Esler, A. N., Burrows, C. A., & Hudock, R. L. (2023). Why are only some children with autism spectrum disorder misclassified by the social communication questionnaire? An empirical investigation of individual differences in sensitivity and specificity in a clinic-referred sample. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

    Altschuler, M. R. & Faja, S. (2022). Brief Report: Test-Retest Reliability of Cognitive, Affective, and Spontaneous Theory of Mind Tasks Among School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

    Altschuler, M. R. & Krueger, R. F. (2021). Towards A Contemporary Approach for Understanding Personality Pathology in Developmental Context: An Integrative Model. Development and Psychopathology.

    ​Burrows, C. A., Bodfish, J. W., Wolff, J. J., Vollman, E. P., Altschuler, M. R., Botteron, K. N., Dager, S. R., Estes, A. M., Hazlett, H. C., Pruett, J. R., Schultz, R. T., Zwaigenbaum, L., Piven, J., & Elison, J. T. (2021). Cataloguing and Characterizing Interests in Typically Developing Toddlers and Toddlers who Develop ASD. Autism Research.

    Altschuler, M. R., Trevisan, D. A., Wolf, J., Naples, A., Foss-Feig, J. H., Srihari, V. H., & McPartland, J. C. (2021). Face Perception Predicts Affective Theory of Mind in Autism but not Schizophrenia or Typical Development. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 30(4), 413–422.

    Kahan, T. A., Slowiaczek, L. M., Altschuler, M. R., & Harrison, A. C. M. (2020). Temporal Negative Priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(2), 275-289.

    Trevisan, D. A., Altschuler, M. R., Bagdasarov, A., Carlos, C., Duan, S., Hamo, E., … & McPartland, J. C. (2019). A Meta-Analysis on the Relationship Between Interoceptive Awareness and Alexithymia: Distinguishing Interoceptive Accuracy and Sensibility. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(8), 765-776.

    Altschuler, M. R., Sideridis, G., Kala, S., Warshawsky, M., Gilbert, R., Carroll, D., Burger-Caplan, R., & Faja, S. (2018). Measuring Individual Differences in Cognitive, Affective, and Spontaneous Theory of Mind Among School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(11), 3945-3957.