Susan M. Rivera, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

Susan M. Rivera, Ph.D.

Research Director, Neurocognitive Development Lab, Center for Mind and Brain UC Davis, Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Mind and Brain
267 Cousteau Place, Suite 250
Davis, California 95618

Phone: 530-747-3802 / Fax: 530-297-4603

Areas of Interest

Fragile X syndrome, Fragile X Spectrum of Involvement, FXTAS, Neuroimaging, Eyetracking


Dr. Rivera uses classic behavioral as well as neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to investigate such things as the development of dorsal vs. ventral visual processing, object representation, numerical cognition and affective processing.  As a member of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, she also conducts research contrasting typical development with that of children with neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism and fragile X Syndrome. One of her main research goals is to build a framework for integrating the previously disparate methodological and theoretical orientations of cognitive developmental and neuroscience research. By employing a variety of converging research techniques, she strives to elucidate the complex brain-behavior relationships that underlie cognitive development.

Current IDDRC Projects

Trajectories and Markers of Neurodegeneration in Fragile X Premutation Carriers, NIH/NIMH, 2R01MH078041-06 

Controlled Trial of Sertraline in Young Children with Fragile X Syndrome, HRSA, 1 R40MC22641-01-00

Genotype-Phenotype Relationships in Fragile X Families, NIH, R01HD036071-14

Recent Representative Publications

Kim, S.Y., Tassone, F, Simon, T.J. and Rivera, S.M. (2014).  Altered neural activity in the ‘when’ pathway during temporal processing in fragile X premutation carriers. Behavioral Brain Research. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.12.044.

Kim, S.Y., Hashimoto, R.I., Tassone, F., Simon, T.J. and Rivera S.M. (2013).  Altered neural activity of magnitude estimation processing in adults with the fragile X premutation. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(12) 1909-1916. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.08.014.

Owen, E.R., Baumgartner, H.A., and Rivera, S.M. (2013). Using infrared eye-tracking to explore ordinal numerical processing in toddlers with fragile X syndrome.   Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 5(1) doi:10.1186/1866-1955-5-1.

Wang, J.Y., Hessl, D., Schneider, A., Tassone, F., Hagerman, R.J and Rivera, S.M.  (2013). Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome: Influence of the FMR1 gene on motor fiber tracts in males with normal and premutation alleles.  JAMA Neurology, 70(8), 1022-1029. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.2934.

Wang, J.Y., Hagerman, R. & Rivera, S.M. (2013). A multimodal imaging analysis of subcortical gray matter in fragile X premutation carriers. Movement Disorders, 28(9), 1278-1284. doi:10.1002/mds.25473.