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Matthew Belmonte

Reader

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Psychology

Role

Matthew Belmonte is a visiting researcher at the Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, and a Reader in Psychology. His research addresses relationships between social cognition and non-social processes of cognitive, motor and perceptual control, within and beyond the autism spectrum.

His teaching experience spans continents and cultures, and includes scientific writing and communication, computer science, cognitive and developmental cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, biological psychology, behavioural research methods, and brain imaging (fMRI and high-density EEG).

Career overview

Dr Belmonte's research and teaching posts have included the University of Cambridge, Cornell University, and the National Brain Research Centre (India).

Research areas

Dr Belmonte accepts students with interests in the following (representative) areas, using behavioural and / or cognitive neurophysiological methods:

  • behavioural and neurophysiological correlations between social communicative skills and non-social tasks of cognitive, motor and perceptual control
  • computer-based training of manual motor and oral motor skills prerequisite to communication in persons with autism who lack communicative speech
  • behavioural, neurophysiological and epidemiological aspects of the relationship between culture, autistic traits, cognitive sex differences, and psychological distance and level of construal
  • translation, cultural adaptation, and validation of quantitative and diagnostic measures of autism and autistic traits in South Asia
  • global outreach to people on the autism spectrum, their families, teachers, therapists and other stakeholders.

Dr Belmonte's research has applied behavioural and cognitive neuroimaging (emphasis on high-density EEG / ERP) methods to investigate brain physiology in families affected by autism, helping to provide the basis of a current theory of abnormal connectivity within and between autistic neural and cognitive networks, and demonstrating that domain-general processes contribute to both social and non-social perception, cognition and action.

A current application of this work assays the effect of computer-assisted training of domain-general motor skills on autistic social communicative ability. A related interest is the interaction of individual differences in autistic traits, cognitive sex differences, individualistic-collectivistic cultural differences, and situational manipulations of psychological distance and level of construal, all of which seem to project onto one major axis of human cognitive variation, and which may map onto common neurophysiological traits relating to cognitive control and functional brain connectivity.

External activity

Dr Belmonte served on the Scientific Review Council of Cure Autism Now (2000 - 2006), was a founding member of the editorial board of Autism Research, the journal of the International Society for Autism Research (2007 - 2015), and since 2009 has served on the editorial boards of Molecular Autism and of Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience.

He has been an ad hoc reviewer for 47 other journals, as well as for the UK Medical Research Council, UK Economic and Social Research Council, US National Institutes of Health, US National Science Foundation, US Army Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Hungarian Scientific Research Fund, Autism Speaks, and several other foundations and institutions.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Belmonte's work has been funded to a total of more than £660,000 by governmental and private sponsors including the US National Science Foundation, the US-India Educational Foundation, Autism Speaks, Cure Autism Now, Fundac~ao BIAL, and Santander. He maintains active collaborations in India, the United Kingdom and the United States:

  • The Com DEALL Trust (Bangalore)
  • National Brain Research Centre (Manesar, India)
  • Department of Applied Psychology, Science College, Calcutta University
  • NHS Peterborough Neurodevelopmental Service
  • Research on Autism and Development Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego
  • EEG and Psychophysiology Laboratory, Department of Human Development, Cornell University
  • The Groden Centre, Providence, Rhode Island.