Geraldine Dawson

Geraldine Dawson

William Cleland Distinguished Professor

Geraldine Dawson is the William Cleland Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, where she also is Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience.  Dawson also is Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, an NIH Autism Center of Excellence, which is an interdisciplinary research program and clinic, aimed to improve the lives of those with autism through research, education, clinical services, and policy.  Dawson received a Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed a clinical internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Dawson previously served as Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, President of the International Society for Autism Research and was appointed by the US Secretary of Health as a member of the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which develops the federal strategic plan for autism research, services, and policy. Dawson is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was Founding Director of the University of Washington (UW) Autism Center and the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. Dawson was awarded the American Psychological Association Distinguished Career Award (Div53); Association for Psychological Science Lifetime Achievement Award; Clarivate Top 1% Cited Researcher Across All Scientific Fields; NIH Top Research Advances of the Year Award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018); Autism Society of America Award for Research Contributions; Autism Society Medical Professional of the Year; and Autism Society Award for Valuable Service. Dawson is a Fellow of the International Society for Autism Research, the American Psychological Society and American Psychological Association, and is Associate Editor or on editorial boards of four scientific journals. 

Appointments and Affiliations

  • William Cleland Distinguished Professor
  • Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Professor in Pediatrics
  • Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy

Contact Information


  • University of California - Los Angeles, 1980
  • Ph.D. University of Washington, 1979

Research Interests

Autism, neuroscience

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Elected. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2020
  • Distinguished Career Award. American Psychological Association. 2019
  • Top 1% Most-Cited Researcher Across All Fields. Clarivate Analytics. 2017
  • President. International Society for Autism Research. 2015
  • James McKeen Cattell Lifetime Achievement Award. Association for Psychological Science. 2012
  • Fellow. Association for Psychological Science. 2006
  • Fellow. Association for Psychological Science. 2006

Courses Taught

  • PSY 203: Practicum
  • PSY 393: Research Independent Study
  • PSY 394: Research Independent Study
  • PSY 494: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Franz, L; Howard, J; Viljoen, M; Sikich, L; Chandrasekhar, T; Kollins, SH; Lee, L; Ndlovu, M; Sabatos-DeVito, M; Seris, N; Shabalala, N; Spanos, M; de Vries, PJ; Dawson, G, Pragmatic adaptations of telehealth-delivered caregiver coaching for children with autism in the context of COVID-19: Perspectives from the United States and South Africa., Autism, vol 26 no. 1 (2022), pp. 270-275 [10.1177/13623613211022585] [abs].
  • Major, S; Isaev, D; Grapel, J; Calnan, T; Tenenbaum, E; Carpenter, K; Franz, L; Howard, J; Vermeer, S; Sapiro, G; Murias, M; Dawson, G, Shorter average look durations to dynamic social stimuli are associated with higher levels of autism symptoms in young autistic children., Autism (2021) [10.1177/13623613211056427] [abs].
  • Tenenbaum, EJ; Major, S; Carpenter, KLH; Howard, J; Murias, M; Dawson, G, Distance from Typical Scan Path When Viewing Complex Stimuli in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and its Association with Behavior., J Autism Dev Disord, vol 51 no. 10 (2021), pp. 3492-3505 [10.1007/s10803-020-04812-w] [abs].
  • Engelhard, M; Berchuck, S; Garg, J; Rusincovitch, S; Dawson, G; Kollins, S, Patterns of Health Services Use Before Age 1 in Children Later Diagnosed With ADHD., J Atten Disord, vol 25 no. 12 (2021) [10.1177/1087054720914352] [abs].
  • Perochon, S; Di Martino, M; Aiello, R; Baker, J; Carpenter, K; Chang, Z; Compton, S; Davis, N; Eichner, B; Espinosa, S; Flowers, J; Franz, L; Gagliano, M; Harris, A; Howard, J; Kollins, SH; Perrin, EM; Raj, P; Spanos, M; Walter, B; Sapiro, G; Dawson, G, A scalable computational approach to assessing response to name in toddlers with autism., The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, vol 62 no. 9 (2021), pp. 1120-1131 [10.1111/jcpp.13381] [abs].