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The Educated Brain at School: Late Childhood and Adolescence

The second in a series of research seminars exploring The Educated Brain, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
When Oct 27, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Where University of Cambridge: Murray Edwards College (talks + workshop); Gonville & Caius (public lecture)
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01223 367397
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The Educated Brain seminars are a unique collaboration between three University of Cambridge Strategic Research Initiatives (Cambridge Neuroscience, Cambridge Public Policy and Cambridge Language Sciences). 

The first seminar, Foundations of the Educated Brain, considered infancy and early childhood. This second seminar in the series, led by Dr Michelle Ellefson, will focus on late childhood and adolescence.  

Download the programme 

Venue: Buckingham House, Murray Edwards College

8.30: Registration

9.00-9.20 Introduction (Dr Michelle Ellefson, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)

9.20-10.00 The effect of poverty on cognition, the brain and education Duncan Astle (Programme Leader, Executive Processes Group, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit)

10.00-10.40 The (still) developing adolescent brain Dr Kirstie Whitaker (Research Associate, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge)

[10.40-11.10 refreshment break]

11.10-11.50 Can people with developmental disorders function successfully as bilinguals? Napoleon Katsos (Reader in Experimental Pragmatics, Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge)

11.50-12.30 The primary-to-secondary school transition for children on the autism spectrum Liz Pellicano, Professor of Autism Education and Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute of Education, University College London

12.30-13.10 Dyslexia and the brain: the role of rhythm Usha Goswami, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, and Director of Centre for Neuroscience in Education

[13.10-14.15 lunch]

14.15-17.00: Workshop - by invitation/application


Venue: Bateman Auditorium, Gonville & Caius College

18.00-19.00: Public lecture [Note: This event will be live streamed on Twitter @SaraBCam]  

The effects of early psychosocial deprivation on brain and behavioral development: findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project

Professor Charles A. Nelson, Professor of Paediatrics and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School and Professor of Education, Harvard University 

 Many aspects of postnatal brain development depend on experience that occurs during relatively narrow windows of time (i.e. critical periods) for development to proceed normally.  In this talk I will discuss what happens to children whose postnatal experience violates what we have come to expect as a species; specifically, infants who experience profound early neglect. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) is a randomized controlled trial of foster care as an intervention for early institutionalization. A total of 136 children who had been abandoned at birth and placed in various institutions in Bucharest, Romania were targeted for study, along with a sample of 72 children who lived with their biological parents in the greater Bucharest community. Following an extensive baseline assessment (average age 22 month), half the institutionalized children were randomly assigned to high quality foster care created by the research team and the other half to care as usual (institutional care). This sample has been carefully studied through the first 16 years of life. Key findings covering a variety of domains (including but not limited to IQ, attachment, and brain development) will serve as the focus of my talk. This work will be situated into the broader framework of the 100 million children around the world who have been abandoned or orphaned, 8 million of whom are being raised in institutional settings.

19.00-19.45: Drinks reception 


Keynote speaker

Charles Nelson   FField 2 8x10k

Charles A. Nelson III is Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Education at Harvard University.

Professor Nelson’s research interests are concerned with the effects of early experience on brain and behavioural development, particularly the effects of early biological insults and early psychosocial adversity. He studies both typically developing children and children at risk for neuro-developmental disorders (particularly autism), and he employs behavioural, electrophysiological (ERP), and metabolic (fNIRS and MRI) tools in his research. He leads the Nelson Laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital in carrying out research on many aspects of infant and child development.

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This seminar is supported by the ESRC, Cambridge Neuroscience, Cambridge Language Sciences and Cambridge Public Policy.



Revised 16 Aug

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