Plan now to attend our 2016 conference in the city of Toronto, Canada. It will be a great time of networking, professional development, and presentations of new, exciting research and information.

To view the agenda click here.

The following keynote speakers are confirmed for IMBES 2016:

Clancy Blair, New York University
The Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood
This talk will describe recent advances in the scientific study of self-regulation in early childhood, focusing on the development of executive functions, the complex thinking skills that are important for learning in school and for controlling behavior and emotions. Research in neuroscience indicates that stress and adversity early in life negatively impact executive functions and self-regulation in young children. A growing body of research in early intervention and early childhood education, however, indicates that self-regulation and executive functions can be fostered through supports for families and through innovative programs that enhance the quality of children’s early education experiences.

Tania Lombrozo, University of California, Berkley

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful
Like scientists, children and adults are often motivated to explain the world around them, including why people behave in particular ways, why objects have some properties rather than others, and why events unfold as they do. Moreover, people have strong and systematic intuitions about what makes something a good (or beautiful) explanation. Why are we so driven to explain? And what accounts for our explanatory preferences? In this talk I’ll present evidence that both children and adults prefer explanations that are simple and have broad scope, consistent with many accounts of explanation from philosophy of science. The good news is that a preference for simple and broad explanations can sometimes improve learning and support effective inferences. The bad news is that under some conditions, these preferences can systematically lead children and adults astray.

Marla Sokolowski, University of Toronto

Gene-Environment Interplay in Individual Differences in Behaviour

We are interested in how DNA variation predisposes organisms to be more or less affected by their experiences (gene-environment interactions), how our experience gets embedded in our biology (epigenetics) and finally how DNA variation interacts with epigenetic processes to affect behaviour. Experiential affects, like developmental ones can occur on different time scales. For example nutritional or social adversity (or enrichment) can occur throughout an organisms life, in early life alone with enduring effects on later life stages, or acutely over a matter of minutes or hours. To address these issues we take a genetic perspective using mostly Drosophila melanogaster but also rats and humans and consider both candidate single genes and candidate pathways. This approach provides interesting opportunities and challenges because many genes and pathways that modulate behaviour have multiple functions (pleiotropy) and do themselves exhibit plastic responses to experience.

Janet Werker, University of British Columbia

Perceptual Foundations of Language Acquisition

We study the earliest foundations of language acquisition, in the perceptual biases young infants show for processing language from the first days of life. We then explore how these biases change as a function of growing up with one or more languages, and how growing perceptual knowledge of the native language intersects with higher levels of language acquisition. Our work shows that infants not only listen to the speech around them, and in this way learn about the properties of the native language, but that they also watch others speaking and that both heard and seen speech influence their development. Bilingual infants may be particularly adept at this. More recently we have begun to explore how infants’ own oral motor movement interact with heard and seen speech. Recent findings, and the implications of this work for ensuring optimal language acquisition for all children, will be presented.


Pasi Sahlberg

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Important Dates

Poster Submissions open February 22, 2016

Award Submissions closed June 13, 2016

Poster Submissions closed August 1, 2016



Symposium Submissions are now closed.



Pre-Conference Workshop

Our pre-conference workshop, hosted by the Wellcome Trust, UK will take place September 15, 2016. For more information about the session click here.
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