College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Jed Elison

  • Irving B. Harris Professor in Child Development

Jed Elison

Areas of interest

Developmental social neuroscience, structural brain development and social cognition, visual attention, joint attention, eye tracking, MRI, DWI, autism, and emerging psychopathology


BA 2005, Psychology, University of Utah
BA 2005, English, University of Utah
PhD 2006 - 2011, Psychology, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Postdoc Training 2011 - 2013, Social Neuroscience, California Institute of Technology


Developmental social neuroscience, structural brain development and social cognition, visual attention, joint attention, eye tracking, MRI, DWI, autism, and emerging psychopathology



ELAB: The Elison Lab for Developmental Brain and Behavior Research


My research examines basic developmental processes that contribute to individual differences in social communication during the infant and toddler period.  Much of the work in my lab operates under the assumption that attentional orienting is a fundamental catalyst for early cognitive and social cognitive development.  Orienting to the most salient and/or biologically relevant information in the social environment requires flexible and efficient selective visual attention.  Following this logic, efficient information processing requires rapid and efficient signal transmission, therefore a large effort in my lab includes characterizing individual differences in the microstructural organization and development of white matter fiber tracts using Diffusion Weighted Imaging.

What began as a focus on quantifying cognitive and behavioral measures in a manner that would be more amenable to examining brain-behavior associations during infancy has transformed into investigating dimensional constructs relevant to emerging psychopathology. Taking a developmental stance on the endophenotype concept will be a theoretical and empirical challenge that will likely keep my lab busy for the foreseeable future.  Finally, I have enduring interests in the pathogenesis of autism.  Much of my work to date has focused on the identification of risk factors that differentiate infants who later develop autism from other infants. 

Advising expectations and availability

If you are a prospective graduate student who is interested in working with Dr. Elison, click here to review his advising expectations. The document outlines what you can expect from Dr. Elison as an advisor/mentor and provides an overview of Dr. Elison's expectations of students. Expectations for both the child psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota and the Elison Lab for Developmental Brain and Behavior Research can be found here.

Please note that for the Fall 2024 admissions cycle I will be considering new applicants interested in working in the E-Lab. Prospective students can find more information about current studies and his team on his website


Lasch, C., Wolff, J.J., & Elison, J.T. (2019). Examining the criterion-oriented validity of the Repetitive Behavior Scales for Early Childhood (RBS-EC) and the Video-Referenced Rating of Reciprocal Social Behavior (vrRSB). Development and Psychopathology.

Dalrymple, K.A., Jiang, M., Zhao, Q., & Elison, J.T. (2019). Machine learning accurately classifies age of toddlers based on eye tracking. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 6255. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42764-z. PMID: 31000762.

Jacob, S., Wolff, J.J., Steinbach, M.S., Doyle, C.B., Kumar, V., & Elison, J.T. (2019). Neurodevelopmental heterogeneity and computational approaches for understanding autism.Translational Psychiatry, 9(1), 63. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0390-0. PMID: 30718453.

Dalrymple, K.A., Manner, M.D., Harmelink, K.A., Teska, E.P., & Elison, J.T.  (2018). An examination of recording accuracy and precision from eye tracking data from toddlerhood to adulthood. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 803. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00803. PMID: 29875727

Sifre, R., Lasch, C., Fenoglio, A., Georgieff, M.K., Wolff, J.J., & Elison, J.T. (2018). Restricted, repetitive, and reciprocal social behaviors in toddlers born small for gestational duration. Journal of Pediatrics. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.05.003. PMID: 30060886

Howell, B.R., Styner, M.A., Gao, W., Yap, PT, Wang, L., Baluyot, K., Yacoub, E., Chen, G., Potts, T., Salzwedel, A., Li, G., Gilmore, J.H., Piven, J., Smith, J.K., Shen, D., Ugurbil, K., Zhu, H., Lin, W., & Elison, J.T. (2018). The UNC/UMN Baby Connectome Project (BCP): An overview of the study design and protocol development. Neuroimage. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.049. PMID: 29578031    

Fenoglio, A., Georgieff, M., Elison, J.T. (2017). Social brain circuitry and social cognition in infants born preterm. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 9, 27. doi 10.1186/s11689-017-9206-9. PMID: 28729888

Piven, J., Elison, J.T., & Zylka, M.J. (2017). Towards a conceptual framework for early brain and behavioral development in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 22, 1385-1394. doi:10.1038/mp.2017.131. PMID: 28937691    

Wolff, J.J., Jacob, S., & Elison, J.T. (2018). The journey to autism: insights from neuroimaging studies of infants and toddlers. Development and Psychopathology, 30(2), 479-495. doi: 10.1017/S0954579417000980. PMID: 28631678

Emerson, R.W., Adams, C., Nishino, T., Hazlett, H.C., Wolff, J.J., Zwaigenbaum, L., Constantino, J.N., Shen, M., Swanson, M.R., Elison, J.T., Kandala, S., Estes, A.M., Botteron, K.N.., Collins, L., Dager, S.R., Evans, A.C., Gerig, G., Gu, H., McKinstry, R.C., Paterson, S., Schultz, R.T., Styner, M., the IBIS Network, Schlaggar, B.L., Pruett, J.R., & Piven, J. (2017). Functional neuroimaging in high-risk 6-month-old infants predicts later autism. Science Translational Medicine, 9, 393, eaag2882. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2882. PMID: 28592562

Shen, M.D., Kim, S.H., McKinstry, R.C., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Nordahl, C.W., Emerson, R.E., Shaw, D., Elison, J.T., Swanson, M.R., Fonov, V.S., Gerig, G., Dager, S.R., Botteron, K.N., Paterson, S., Schultz, R.T., Evans, A.C., Estes, A.M., Zwaigenbaum, L., Styner, M.A., Amaral, D.G., & Piven, J. for the IBIS Network (2017). Increased extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid in infants who later develop autism. Biological Psychiatry, 82, 186-193. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.02.1095. PMID: 28392081

Eggebrecht A.T., Elison, J.T., Feczko, E., Todorov, A., Wolff, J.J., Kandala, S., Adams, C.M., Snyder, A.Z., Lewis, J.D., Estes, A.M., Zwaigenbaum, L., Botteron, K.N., McKinstry, R.C., Constantino, J.N., Evans, A., Hazlett, H.C., Dager, S., Paterson, S.J., Schultz, R.T., Styner, M.A., Gerig, G., Das, S., Kostopoulos, P., The IBIS Network, Schlaggar, B.L., Petersen, S.E., Piven, J., Pruett, J.R. Jr. (2017). Joint attention and brain functional connectivity in infants and toddlers. Cerebral Cortex, 27, 1709-1720. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw403. PMID: 28062515

Hazlett, H.C., Gu, H., Munsell, B.C., Kim, S.H., Styner, M., Wolff, J.J., Elison, J.T., Swanson, M.R., Zhu, H., Botteron, K.N., Collins, L., Constantino, J.N., Dager, S.R., Estes, A.M., Evans, A.C., Fonov, V., Gerig, G., Kostopoulos, P., McKinstry, R.C., Pandey, J., Paterson, S., Pruett, J.R., Schultz, R.T., Shaw, D.W., Zwaigenbaum, L., Piven, J., for the IBIS Network. (2017).  Early brain development in infants at high risk for autism spectrum disorder. Nature, 542, 348-351. doi:10.1038/nature21369. PMID: 28202961

Wolff, J.J., Boyd, B., & Elison, J.T. (2016). A quantitative measure of restricted and repetitive behaviors in early childhood.  Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 8.27. doi: 10.1186/s11689-016-9161. PMID: 27486483

Spunt, R.P., Elison, J.T., Dufour, N., Hurlemann, R., Saxe, R., & Adolphs, R. (2015).  Amygdala lesions do not compromise the cortical network for false-belief reasoning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 4827-4832. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1422679112. Epub 2015 Mar 30. PMID: 25825732.

Elison, J.T., Wolff, J.J., Reznick, J.S., Botteron, K.N., Estes, A.M., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Meadows, A.J., Paterson, S.J., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven J. for the IBIS Network. (2014).  Repetitive behavior in 12-month-olds later classified with autism spectrum disorder.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 1216-1224. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2014.08.004. Epub 2014 Sep 3. PMID: 25440311

Wolff, J.J., Botteron K.N., Dager, S.R., Elison, J.T., Estes, A.M., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Pandey, J., Paterson, S.J., Schultz, R.T., Zwaigenbaum, L., Piven, J., for the IBIS Network (2014).  Longitudinal patterns of repetitive behavior in toddlers with autism.  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 945-953.  doi:10.1111/jcpp.12207. Epub 2014 Feb 19.  PMID: 24552513

Elison, J.T., Paterson, S.J., Wolff, J.J., Reznick, J.S., Sasson, N.J., Gu, H., Botteron, K.N., Dager, S.R., Estes, A.M., Evans, A.C., Gerig, G., Hazlett, H.C., Schultz, R.T., Styner, M., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven J. for the IBIS Network. (2013). White matter microstructure and atypical visual orienting in 7-month-olds at risk for autism. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 899-908.  doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12091150. PMID: 23511344

Short, S.J., Elison, J.T., Goldman, B.D., Styner, M., Gu, H., Connelly, M., Maltbie, E., Woolson, S., Lin, W., Gerig, G., Reznick, J.S., & Gilmore, J.H. (2013). Associations between white matter microstructure and infants’ working memory. Neuroimage, 64, 156-166.  doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.09.021. Epub 2012 Sep 16. PMID: 22989623

Elison, J.T., Wolff, J.J., Heimer, D.C., Paterson, S.J., Gu, H., Hazlett, H.C., Styner, M., Gerig, G., & Piven, J for the IBIS Network. (2013). Frontolimbic neural circuitry at 6 months predicts individual differences in joint attention at 9 months. Developmental Science, 16, 186-197.  doi: 10.1111/desc.12015. Epub 2012 Dec 20. PMID: 23432829