Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.

Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.

Marvin "Buzz" Oates and Family Endowed Chair in Lifespan Development in Autism, Associate Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2278
Sacramento, CA 95817 


Phone:  916-703-0270

Dr. Solomon is a licensed psychologist whose primary clinical work is focused on high functioning children, adolescents, and young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She studies and implements clinical intervention programs focused on the acquisition of social and life skills for these individuals. Solomon published a waiting list controlled trial of a social skills intervention model which was cited as one the only RCTs of this form of intervention by Rao, Beidel, & Murray (2008) and more recently was considered 1 of the 5 RCTs in the field (Reichow, Steiner, & Volkmar, 2012). With her students, she has been one of the few researchers to address measurement issues in social skills intervention. Solomon and colleagues also were the first group to publish a trial of Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in children with ASD. Currently, Solomon’s Laboratory is funded by the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence to pilot test an adaptive functioning intervention for young adults with ASD that is validated in the chronic mental illness field.”

My research/academic interests should be edited to say: My Laboratory studies cognitive control, learning, and memory in individuals with ASD through the lifespan. This line of research represents an extension of my Post-Doctoral training and a K08 Career Development Award from NIMH to use cognitive neuroscience methods including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study cognitive control in children, adolescents, and young adults with ASD. In a first behavioral study, we documented cognitive control deficits that were related to IQ and ADHD symptoms in children and adolescents with ASD aged 8-18 years. In a follow-up study using fMRI, we showed that those with ASD exhibited lower anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC) recruitment during the preparatory phase of a cognitive control task than matched typically developing (TYP) adolescents. We also documented reduced fronto-parietal connectivity in these individuals that was associated with ADHD symptoms. We then initiated another study that examined the neural correlates of the development of cognitive control through the adolescent period and found that, relative to those with TYP, those with ASD exhibited increased functional connectivity between lateral PFC and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We interpreted findings as evidence that those with ASD use a less well-planned and “reactive” style of cognitive control (the same pattern found in children and older adults), than TYP who rely upon a more timely implementation of cognitive control.

During the time of my K08 award, I also received funding from NARSAD to study learning in young adults with ASD. We published several behavioral studies of reinforcement and transitive inference learning, which were followed up in two fMRI studies. The first documented a similar lack of preparatory control as evidenced by later and less well-maintained feedback processing and consequent development of reward based working memories in young adults with ASD when they are completing a reinforcement learning study. An R21 grant funded a second fMRI study that examines transitive inference learning and finds that although adolescents with ASD performed similarly to TYP on the transitive inference task, those with ASD showed greater use of associative learning mechanisms with less prefrontal engagement. Solomon recently was awarded an R01 by NIMH for a follow-up study of middle childhood learning, memory, and cognitive functioning and early biomarkers of response to intervention in a longitudinal cohort of 8-12 year old children with ASD, who were first identified as babies. 


B.A., Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 1981
M.B.A., Business Administration, Stanford University, 1985
Ph.D., Social and Personality Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1999