ALLYSON MACKEY, University of Pennsylvania
Title: Brain development and plasticity: Implications for learning and academic achievement
Ebbinghaus Empire Series 2016-2017
Abstract: My research aims to bridge neuroscience and education. In this talk, I will focus on three studies that investigate how the brain shapes learning, and how learning shapes the brain. First, I will present data on neuroanatomical correlates of the income achievement gap. I will compare cortical thickness between students from lower- and higher-income backgrounds, and relate cortical thickness to performance on standardized tests of academic achievement. Second, I will discuss how individual differences in brain structure and function relate to variability in achievement gains at a high performing charter school. Third, I will show evidence for changes in brainstructure and function associated with reasoning instruction in adults. I will close with a broader discussion of how a better understanding of brain development and plasticity can inform the type and timing of educational interventions.
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