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  • 2021 Virtual Conference Series

2021 Virtual Conference Series

Participants will be sent the Zoom login information 1 day prior to the event.

Presented on:
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    • June 14, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
    Register

    Toward a Transdisciplinary Science of Adolescent Education:  Bringing together diverse practical and scientific perspectives to drive innovation

    Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

    Research over the past several years documents that adolescence is an experience-sensitive period of brain maturation and plasticity. Work in the field of education highlights the need for innovation in adolescent schooling, as many traditional school designs and teaching practices are unsupportive of diverse adolescents’ developmental needs. This symposium will bring together developmental neuroscientists and educational psychologists from diverse international perspectives with education practitioners working to build innovative secondary school models around the world. The aim will be to highlight new information about adolescent development, to extract usable insights for application to practical questions in education, and to begin to formulate a vision for productive research collaborations in this space. The symposium will be chaired by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, from University of Southern California.

    • June 23, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
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    The Genetic Lottery:  Toward an Anti-Eugenics Framework for Understanding Genetic Differences and their Relationship to Social Inequality(Paige Harden)

    Paige Harden

    Twin studies and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found evidence that genes matter for how people's lives turn out differently. Two particularly controversial outcomes that have been studied in recent GWAS are educational attainment and externalizing behavior problems. In this talk, I describe research from my group on how polygenic scores derived from GWASs of education and externalizing are related to socially valued life course outcomes. I then contrast eugenic and anti-eugenic frameworks for interpreting and applying these genetic results. In particular, I emphasize how genetics can be used as a tool for identifying and mitigating inequalities across social contexts, rather than as a tool for justifying and entrenching inequalities.

    • July 07, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
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    In the Beginning was the Word | Developmental origins of intelligent behavior

    Elena Grigorenko and Michael Skeide

    In the Beginning was the Word

    In this presentation, Dr. Grigorenko will review the work on the manifestation, course, and etiology of developmental language disorders (DLD) that has been unfolding in her laboratory. She will provide a general overview of the field and then illustrate its various views with specific studies completed. Dr. Grigorenko will sample research from different contexts and different participant samples. Specifically, she will (1) delineate the current frontiers of the field with regard to its major empirical challenges and existing theoretical tensions; (2) indicate the field’s point of growth; and (3) outline the field’s perceived misconceptions. Dr. Grigorenko will primarily sample empirical research from her laboratory comparing and contrasting a(typical) language acquisition (1) in mono- and multilingual contexts; (2) by children developing in their biological families and orphaned children; and (3) by children with and without DLD. She will sample different languages (Arabic, African languages, English, and Russian) and countries (high- and middle- and low-income). In terms of the methodologies, she will illustrate the relevant empirical and theoretical points using behavior, brain, and genetic approaches. She will conclude with an overall statement regarding potential points of growth for the field and the description of the relevant research that is ongoing in her laboratory.

    Developmental origins of intelligent behavior

    Powered by recent advances in artificial intelligence, computer systems are now able to outperform humans in certain cognitive tasks. For example, there are algorithms that are better than us at recognizing handwritten letters or digits. In several hallmark domains of natural intelligence, however, even the smartest learning algorithms are hopelessly inferior to the remarkable learning capacities of human children. Driven by this fascination for learning, the overarching question I will address in my presentation is how uniquely human intelligent behavior emerges in the course of development. A particular focus will be how children learn to understand symbolic information (e.g., read words and grasp numbers), generate models of their experience (e.g., a quantification system) and use these models for problem solving. Going beyond descriptive developmental psychological theories, I will introduce an explanatory framework that anchors behavioral learning trajectories in interacting biological systems (environments, genes and brains). Building on this conceptual foundation, I will capture both universal principles and individual differences of learning (with an emphasis on dyslexia and dyscalculia). Moreover, I will talk about my field site research efforts (currently in rural Northern India) aiming for a better understanding of how learning is shaped by cultural diversity.

    • July 12, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
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    Educating the Brain: Lessons from Neuroimaging

    John Gabrieli

    Neuroimaging can provide insights about the anatomical and physiological brain mechanisms that support childhood learning in the home and school. I will present studies that show how variation in home language experience is associated with variation in children’s brain function and structure and that such variation can show rapid plasticity. I will also present research showing that effective remediation of reading difficulty is associated with structural brain plasticity. Finally, I will present evidence that a school-based mindfulness program can result in both social-emotional and cognitive benefits, with corresponding plasticity in relevant brain systems.

    • July 14, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
    Register

    Opportunities and limits of cognitive control plasticity in childhood

    Niko Steinbeis

    Childhood cognitive control is a critical predictor for a wide range of later-life outcomes (i.e. academic achievement, mental health, socio-economic status). This has placed it at the centre of attempts to train mental functions with the aim to improve said outcomes. I will present correlational and experimental evidence demonstrating a central role for cognitive control for a range of social, affective and cognitive functions in children. I will also present findings from a large randomized control trial of cognitive control training and its effects on a wide array of brain measures and processing domains. I will contextualise my research within the broader theoretical context on plasticity and interventions.

    • July 28, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
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    Socioeconomic Inequality and Children's Brain Development

    Kim Noble

    Socioeconomic disparities in childhood are associated with differences in cognitive and socio-emotional development during a time when dramatic changes are occurring in the brain. Recent work has focused on understanding the neurobiological pathways through which socioeconomic factors shape development. A theoretical model will be presented whereby differences in the home language environment and family stress likely impact particular brain systems, which in turn support distinct neurocognitive skills. Evidence for the model, as well as ongoing and future work testing aspects of the model, will be discussed. Finally, Baby's First Years, the first clinical trial of poverty reduction in early childhood, will be introduced.

    • August 02, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom
    Register

    More than the sum of its parts: Mathematical cognition in MBE

    Courtney Pollack

    Toward breakthrough outcomes by building an equity first, inclusive infrastructure

    Melina Uncapher

    More than the sum of its parts: Mathematical cognition in MBE

    Mathematical proficiency is important for success in school and beyond. In this talk, I share some of my research on the cognitive, neural, and socio-emotional aspects of mathematics learning for those with and without learning difficulties. Specifically, I focus on the processing of numerical symbols and the interrelation of mathematics and reading domains. Through this work, I suggest that mathematical proficiency and its development are best understood with an interdisciplinary approach.

    Toward breakthrough outcomes by building an equity first, inclusive infrastructure

    Our nation’s students deserve access to high-quality instruction and tools that support their academic and social emotional development; however we lack the infrastructure to connect rigorous research with real-world educators and developers who can build useful and usable tools that can be adopted at scale. The EF+Math Program is creating a novel infrastructure for rich collaboration between researchers, educators, and developers to build educational tools that are grounded in rigorous research and designed to find solutions to the most persistent educational inequities in math classrooms. Through our model of Inclusive R&D, we draw on the assets of research, practice, and design to bridge the gap between learning science and classroom practice. The goal of EF+Math is to dramatically improve math outcomes for students in grades 3–8, with a focus on Black and Latinx students and students living in poverty, by strengthening executive functioning skills. We hypothesize that building equitable math learning tools requires an equitable process of discovery and development. Inclusive R&D is an equity centered and inclusive process for developing innovative programs, which utilizes a set of principles and practices to center students, educators, families, and communities that are often left out of research methods and of other human-centered design methods. Inclusive R&D brings people together to ideate, build, and iterate together in an ongoing feedback loop that removes the silos between discovery, development, and adoption. In sharing our story, our hope is that you identify opportunities for your own work in bridging research and practice, as we collectively make progress towards breakthrough outcomes for students.

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