A white man with glasses wearing a blue sweater has his arms crossed. He is smiling and leaning on a brick wall.

Kayden M. Stockwell

Developmental Psychology PhD Student

University of Virginia

Jaswal Lab


My name is Kayden Stockwell and I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia studying developmental psychology with a concentration in quantitative methods. Under the supervision of Dr. Vikram Jaswal, I investigate autistic social interaction and how autistic people are perceived. I am particularly interested in live, dyadic interactions and in the Double Empathy Problem.

Outside of the lab, I am passionate about increasing access for disabled students in higher education and am active in several local LGBTQ+ organizations. I also enjoy working with students to support their understanding of course content, exploring their research interests, and deciding if graduate school is the right path for them.

Research Interests

  • Autistic social interaction
  • Perceptions of autistic people
  • Measures of dyadic interaction


  • BA in Psychology and BS in Human Development, 2018

    Binghamton University, State University of New York


Learning from the Experts: Evaluating a Participatory Autism and Universal Design Training for University Teaching Staff

Autistic students experience strengths and challenges that can impact their full inclusion in higher education, including stigma. A participatory team of autistic and non-autistic scholars developed an Autism and Universal Design (UD) training. This participatory approach centered the voices of autistic collaborators in training designand evaluation. Ninety-eight educators from 53 institutions across 5 countries completed assessments before training (pre-tests), 89 completed post-tests (after training), and 82 completed maintenance assessments (amonth after post-test). Pre-test autism stigma was heightened among males, educators with less autism knowledge, and those who reported heightened social dominance orientation. Autism knowledge, autism stigma, and attitudes toward UD improved with training. Improvements remained apparent a month after post-test but were somewhat attenuated for knowledge and stigma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first evidence of maintenance of benefits of an autism training over time. Participants’ main reason for enrolling in the study was to gain a better understanding about neurodiversity. Feedback indicates that this goal was reached by most with the added benefit of gaining understanding about UD. Results suggest that interest in one type of diversity (i.e., autism) can motivate faculty to learn UD-aligned teaching strategies that benefit diverse students more generally.

Current Projects

Stigmatization of Autistic College Students

This project began as my undergraduate honors thesis. It considers how non-autistic college students’ interest in interacting with peers is impacted by the peers’ social behavior and special interests. You can read the first paper from this study in my Publications section!
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Understanding the experiences of autistic undergraduates at UVA

This project is funded through UVA’s Directors of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion small grants program and focuses on understanding how UVA could be more supportive of and accessible to autistic students.

Autism Terminology Preferences

This project focuses on understanding (1) what labels people with a connection to autism prefer and (2) how particular labels may contribute to or reduce the stigmatization of people who have a diagnosis of autism.
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Impact of Autism Label on Face Recognition

Background: Labeling an individual can influence the inferences others make about them. For example, using a face-inversion paradigm, Civile et al. (2018) found the difference between memory for upright vs. inverted faces was larger for faces labeled “regular people” than those labeled “diagnosed with autism.

Autism and Universal Design Training for Higher Education Faculty

I am a collaborator on an international project developing training to improve faculty and graduate teaching assistants' understanding of autistic college students and of the principles of Universal Design. This project is led and developed by a team of autistic and non-autistic researchers. You can access the training for free by clicking the button below.

Research Presentations

C. Galusca, K.M. Stockwell, and S. Kaman (2022). Cultural markers: The role of gesture in identifying in- and out-group members. [Talk]. Society for Research in Child Development: Construction of the ‘Other’, Rio Grande, PR.

C. Galusca, S. Kaman, and K.M. Stockwell (2021). Gesture as a cultural marker of group membership. [Data Blitz]. Harvard Women in Psychology Trends in Psychology Summit, Virtual Meeting, Cambridge, MA.

K.M. Stockwell, J. Gillis, and V. Jaswal. (2021). With whom would you prefer to interact?: Investigating context dependent effects of social behavior and special interests. [Poster]. International Society for Autism Research, Virtual Meeting, Boston, MA.


Z. Sargent, A. Lampi, K.M. Stockwell, and V. Jaswal. (2021). How do you talk about autism?: Label preferences within the North American autism community. [Poster]. International Society for Autism Research, Virtual Meeting, Boston, MA.


Invited Guest Lectures

 Introduction to Psychology
(North Carolina State University, Spring 2022)
     Abnormal Psychology
    (Texas Tech University, Spring 2022)
       Stereotypes and Prejudice
      (Ontario Tech University, Spring 2021)

      Graduate Teaching Assistant

       Abnormal Psychology
      (University of Virginia, Spring 2022)
        Enrollment: 257
       Autism: From Neurons to Neighborhoods
      (University of Virginia, Fall 2021)
        Enrollment: 27
       Introduction to Psychology
      (University of Virginia, Spring 2020)
       Introduction to Child Development
      (University of Virginia, Fall 2019)
        Enrollment: 346

      Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

       Social Science Research Methods
      (Binghamton University, Spring 2018)
        Enrollment: 40



      K.M. Stockwell, Anonymous Graduate Students. (March, 2022). Deciding between multiple offers. Next Gen Psych Scholars Program. Virtual.

      D. Bart-Plange, L. Jamison, M. Kim, M. Larrazabal, K.M. Stockwell, E. Toner, and T. Quiles. (November, 2021). The graduate school application process. University of Virginia Psychology Club. Charlottesville, VA.

      K.M. Stockwell, Anonymous Graduate Students. (October, 2021). Navigating graduate school with a disability or chronic illness. Next Gen Psych Scholars Program. Virtual.

      K.M. Stockwell, Anonymous Graduate Students. (August, 2021). Applying as and being a queer grad student. Next Gen Psych Scholars Program. Virtual.

      K.M. Stockwell, C. Pettit, and A. Wood. (March, 2021). Applying to graduate school. University of Virginia Mentoring Series. Charlottesville, VA.

      K.M. Stockwell (October, 2020). Disability and graduate school applications. University of Virginia Diversifying Psychology Visit Day. Charlottesville, VA. Watch Presentation Presentation Transcript

      K.M. Stockwell (October, 2020). Lived experience of autistic college and graduate students. University of Virginia Science and Lived Experience of Autism Class. Charlottesville, VA.

      M. Coyle, K.M. Stockwell, and E. Yamazaki. (April, 2019). So you want to do an honors thesis in psychology?. Binghamton University Psi Chi Chapter. Vestal, NY.

      T.Q Nguyen, S. Pilato and K.M Stockwell. (March, 2019). Applying to psychology and neuroscience graduate programs. Binghamton University Student Psychological Association. Vestal, NY.

      K.M. Stockwell. (June, 2018). The importance of undergraduate research experiences. Long Beach Polytechnic High School AP Biology Class. Long Beach, CA.

      K.M. Stockwell. (April, 2018). Autism and the college transition. It’s All in the Planning! Transition Conference. Hudson, NY.

      K.M. Stockwell (October, 2017). Disabilities and taking initiative to foster employment skills. Keynote Speaker at Broome-Tioga BOCES 2017 Mentoring Day. Binghamton, NY.

      J. Marmorsky, K.M. Stockwell, and D. Gray. (November, 2016). Facilitating student access, participation, and development. Binghamton University Fraternities and Sororities Leadership Conference. Vestal, NY.

      K.M. Stockwell and D. Gray. (October, 2016). Autism in higher education. Binghamton University Faculty Training Session. Vestal, NY.

      Social Media

      I co-run the @DisInGradSchool Twitter account with Cait Kirby. We aim to provide connections and resources for disabled graduate students. In October 2020, we released daily actions that disabled students and non-disabled allies could take to work to increase accessibility in the academy. We also appeared on the Dear Grad Student podcast to discuss ableism in academia.


      • Email: ks6hv@virginia.edu