PhD Candidate Valerie Yap

Valerie Yap is a senior MPsych/PhD (clinical neuro) candidate supervised by Profs Sarah Wilson, Alan connelly and Ingrid Scheffer (Florey). She is part of the Clinical and Music Neuroscience lab and the Collaborative Autism Study, an RCH/UoM multidisciplinary team which looks at the transmission of Autism genes and phenotypes in families of affected individuals. Her PhD investigates vocal emotion processing in the general population, people with high-functioning Autism and their family members using behavioural and neuroimaging paradigms.

Valerie presented one of her PhD studies at the recent 4th Australasian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience Annual Meeting (Melbourne, June 15-16) and won an award for best student platform presentation. Her presentation was about an fMRI study on the neural correlates of vocal emotion recognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder. The results of this study found that people with Autism were less efficient at processing vocal emotions compared to age- and IQ-matched controls, as reflected by greater activation in the mirror neutron system, visual areas, hippocampus and cerebellum.