Elena Tenenbaum, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

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Dr. Tenenbaum is a researcher and licensed clinical psychologist who received her doctorate in Psychology from Brown University and respecialized in clinical psychology at Suffolk University. She completed her predoctoral clinical psychology internship and postdoctoral training at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University before joining the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development in 2018. As a graduate student in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown, Dr. Tenenbaum studied language acquisition in typically developing infants. Her research had implications for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and she began working with children with ASD in 2008. Dr. Tenenbaum’s research now focuses on language and cognitive development in children with ASD, children born premature, and children whose mothers struggled with perinatal depression and related disorders. Dr. Tenenbaum uses eye tracking and other behavioral measures to explore how children interact with the world around them and the relation between those interactions and cognitive and language development. Dr. Tenenbaum’s clinical expertise is in the diagnosis and treatment of autism, particularly as it applies to language acquisition. Though her focus is on young children, Dr. Tenenbaum works with individuals across the lifespan.

Representative Publications

English, M. S., Tenenbaum, E.J., Levine, T. P., Lester, B. M., & Sheinkopf, S. J. (2019). Perception of Cry Characteristics in 1-Month-Old Infants Later Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(3), 834-844.

Righi, G.*, Tenenbaum, E.J.*, McCormick, C., Blossom, M., Amso, D., & Sheinkopf, S. J. (2018). Sensitivity to audio‐visual synchrony and its relation to language abilities in children with and without ASD. Autism Research, 11(4), 645-653.

Tenenbaum, E.J., Amso, D., Righi, G., Sheinkopf, S.J. (2017). Attempting to “Increase Intake from the Input”: Attention and Word Learning in Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(6), 1791-1805.

Sheinkopf, S.J.*, Tenenbaum, E.J.*, Messinger, D.S., Miller-Loncar, C.L., Tronick, E.Z., Lagasse, L.L., Seifer, R., Shankaran, S., Bada, H., Bauer, C., Whitaker, T., Hammond, J., Lester, B.M. (2016). Maternal and infant affect at 4 months predicts performance and verbal IQ at 4 and 7 years in diverse population. Developmental Science, 20(5), e12479.

Tenenbaum, E.J., Sobel, D. M., Sheinkopf, S. J., Malle, B. F., & Morgan, J. L. (2015). Attention to the mouth and gaze following in infancy predict language development. Journal of Child Language, 42(06), 1173-1190.

Tenenbaum, E.J., Amso, D., Abar, B., & Sheinkopf, S.J. (2014). Attention and word learning in autistic, language delayed and typically developing children. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:490.

Tenenbaum, E.J., Shah, R. J., Sobel, D. M., Malle, B. F., & Morgan, J. L. (2013). Increased focus on the mouth among infants in the first year of life: A longitudinal eye-tracking study. Infancy, 18, 534-553.

*First and second authors had equal contribution.