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David I Leitman, PhD

David I Leitman, PhD

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Research Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
Department: Psychiatry
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Dept of Psychiatry/ Neuropsychiatry
10 gates Pavillion
3400 spruce st
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-662-7389
Fax: 215-662-7903
BS (Psychology/ History)
City University of New York, 1997.
PhD (Cognitive Neuroscience/ Psychology)
City University of New York, 2006.
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Perelman School of Medicine > Faculty > Search

Description of Research Expertise

My research focuses on social communication, its development and the auditory processing mechanisms for music and speech. I apply these interests to the study of neurodevelopmental illnesses and in particular schizophrenia and autism.

social communication, social neuroscience, emotion, auditory processing, music, speech, facial processing, EEG, fMRI, MEG, schizophrenia

Core Research:
Most of my work to date has focused on vocal social and emotional intent as conveyed through intonation change (prosody). I have examined vocal affect signal transmission in terms of how such signals are coded, the channels used for such coding, and the receiver’s ability to process such signals. This information theoretic approach heavily relies on gestalt principles, perception and the interaction between sensory and higher-order cognitive processes.

My research approach strives for both theoretical import and applied utility. Whenever possible I employ converging methodologies, situating methods of psychophysics and neuropsychology alongside descriptions of behavior related brain activity and brain structure using (EEG) or spatially sensitive (MRI).

Building on this foundation, I have recently begun to focus on how the behavioral and neural processes involved in prosodic perception develop as we mature. I am now conducting a multimodal investigation (MEG, fMRI and DWI) of prosodic processing and in concert, developing measures tailored for studying children and adolescents.

Additional projects:
TIME PERCEPTION: I am additionally conducting investigations of the impact of time perception on higher-order cognitive abilities such as the perception of physical causality and social agency in the visual domain and phonemic perception and language and communication abilities in the auditory domain. This study will contrast the performance of healthy individuals and those with schizophrenia.

OSCILLATORY ACTIVITY DURING INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION: I am currently beginning to develop paradigms and tools to explore inter-brain synchrony during dyadic communication interactions by measuring turn-taking and joint attention.


Alexandra Zerbe, (Temple senior)
Krystal Ludwig, (Immaculata 2nd year graduate PsyD)
Joshua Bolgar, (PENN senior)

Description of Clinical Expertise


Description of Other Expertise

social communication social neuroscience emotion, auditory processing, speech, facial processing, EEG, fMRI MEG schizophrenia

Selected Publications

Gold Rinat, Butler Pamela, Revheim Nadine, Leitman David I, Hansen John A, Gur Ruben C, Kantrowitz Joshua T, Laukka Petri, Juslin Patrik N, Silipo Gail S, Javitt Daniel C: Auditory emotion recognition impairments in schizophrenia: relationship to acoustic features and cognition. The American journal of psychiatry 169(4): 424-32, Apr 2012.

Leitman David I, Wolf Daniel H, Laukka Petri, Ragland J Daniel, Valdez Jeffrey N, Turetsky Bruce I, Gur Raquel E, Gur Ruben C: Not pitch perfect: sensory contributions to affective communication impairment in schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry 70(7): 611-8, Oct 2011.

Kantrowitz Joshua T, Leitman David I, Lehrfeld Jonathan M, Laukka Petri, Juslin Patrik N, Butler Pamela D, Silipo Gail, Javitt Daniel C: Reduction in Tonal Discriminations Predicts Receptive Emotion Processing Deficits in Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder. Schizophrenia bulletin Jul 2011.

Leitman David I, Wolf Daniel H, Loughead James, Valdez Jeffrey N, Kohler Christian G, Brensinger Colleen, Elliott Mark A, Turetsky Bruce I, Gur Raquel E, Gur Ruben C: Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the effects of task demand context on facial affect appraisal in schizophrenia. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 6(1): 66-73, Jan 2011.

Leitman David I, Sehatpour Pejman, Garidis Christina, Gomez-Ramirez Manuel, Javitt Daniel C: Preliminary Evidence of Pre-Attentive Distinctions of Frequency-Modulated Tones that Convey Affect. Frontiers in human neuroscience 5: 96, 2011.

Leitman David I, Sehatpour Pejman, Higgins Beth A, Foxe John J, Silipo Gail, Javitt Daniel C: Sensory deficits and distributed hierarchical dysfunction in schizophrenia. The American journal of psychiatry 167(7): 818-27, Jul 2010.

Leitman David I, Wolf Daniel H, Ragland J Daniel, Laukka Petri, Loughead James, Valdez Jeffrey N, Javitt Daniel C, Turetsky Bruce I, Gur Ruben C: "It's Not What You Say, But How You Say it": A Reciprocal Temporo-frontal Network for Affective Prosody. Frontiers in human neuroscience 4: 19, 2010.

Leitman David I, Sehatpour Pejman, Shpaner Marina, Foxe John J, Javitt Daniel C: Mismatch negativity to tonal contours suggests preattentive perception of prosodic content. Brain imaging and behavior 3(3): 284-91, Sep 2009.

Leitman David I, Hoptman Matthew J, Foxe John J, Saccente Erica, Wylie Glenn R, Nierenberg Jay, Jalbrzikowski Maria, Lim Kelvin O, Javitt Daniel C: The neural substrates of impaired prosodic detection in schizophrenia and its sensorial antecedents. The American journal of psychiatry 164(3): 474-82, Mar 2007.

Leitman David I, Foxe John J, Butler Pamela D, Saperstein Alice, Revheim Nadine, Javitt Daniel C: Sensory contributions to impaired prosodic processing in schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry 58(1): 56-61, Jul 2005.

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Last updated: 07/19/2012
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