Month: January 2011

March 7th, 2011

Distinguished Lecture Series
March 7, 2011

Title of Talk: How Does the Brain Learn to Read and Calculate?
Speaker: James R. Booth
Jo Ann G. and Peter F. Dolle Professor in Learning Disabilities
Northwestern University
Location: Troy Moore Library
Time: 10:30 AM

Abstract: Writing and mathematics are relatively recent cultural inventions, only having been utilized by humans for about 5000 years. Even though this is too little time for evolution to have rewired the brain, most people effectively acquire these symbol systems by early childhood. In this lecture, I will discuss our attempts to uncover the mechanisms underlying the development of our amazing abilities to read and calculate. I will argue that general principles of brain development are key to reaching a deeper understanding in this field of inquiry. These principles suggest increases across development in (1) the specialization of brain regions for different computations and (2) the interaction between brain regions through enhanced connectivity. Our studies also suggest that the relatively slow acquisition of certain skills may indicate greater neuronal recycling – the repurposing of evolutionary older structures for new functions. Finally, I will review evidence suggesting that our growing knowledge of typical brain development is relevant for understanding why approximately 6% of children have difficulties with reading (dyslexia) or math (dyscalculia). Literacy is fundamental to human society and the costs of illiteracy are enormous.

*There will be a small coffee reception at 10:00 AM preceding the lecture.

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February 16th, 2011

Distinguished Lecture Series

February 16th, 2011

Title of Talk: The Visual Word Form Area:
Individual Differences in Hemispheric
Lateralization and Implications for Reading Style

Speaker: Julie Fiez, Ph.D. Director of Graduate Studies
Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience &
Communication Science and Disorders
University of Pittsburgh

Location: Georgia State University
Distinguished Lecture Series

February 9th, 2011

Title of Talk: Brain Dynamics Underlying Cognitive
Development Through Adolescence

Speaker: Beatriz Luna, Ph.D. Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Location: Georgia State University
1000 Urban Life Building
Time: 10:30 AM

Abstract:

In this talk I will share some of our recent research on orthographic
representation and processing. This line of research began with a
study examining the impact of one’s native writing system on the
acquisition of a second writing system in adulthood. Chinese-English
and English-Chinese bilinguals were studied, with the goal of
maximizing differences in the mapping principles between a first and
second language. The results from this work demonstrated that the
degree of left-lateralized activation in a putative “visual word form
area” is influenced by the structure of one’s native language.
Subsequent behavioral work has investigated the functional
significance of lateralization differences in the VWFA, and the degree
to which similar functional-behavioral correspondences might be found
amongst native English speakers processing written English words.

*There will be a small coffee reception at 10:00 AM preceding the lecture.

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February 9th, 2011

Distinguished Lecture Series

February 9th, 2011

Title of Talk: Brain Dynamics Underlying Cognitive
Development Through Adolescence

Speaker: Beatriz Luna, Ph.D. Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Location: Georgia State University
1000 Urban Life Building
Time: 10:30 AM

Abstract:

Adolescence is a period of development characterized by impulsive and risk-taking behavior. There is accumulating evidence that while adolescents have the capability to exert adult level voluntary control of behavior, this is still immature undermining decision making. Our neuroimaging studies on response inhibition have found evidence for particular immaturities during adolescence including limitations in the ability to monitor performance, sustain voluntary control, and be affected by reward incentives. Results also indicate that these limitations in voluntary control may be underlied by evidence for immaturities in brain effective functional integration and white matter integrity of top down executive control of behavior. More recently our fMRI studies of activation during rest states show that the basic hub architecture of the brain is in place by childhood but that connections from frontal areas to other cortical and subcortical regions continues to strengthen into adulthood. Overall, results indicate that with development the brain integrates function in a more distributed collaborative manner supporting complex processing such as voluntary control of behavior.

*Lecture series will be held at 10:30 AM in Room 1000 of the Urban Life Building. There will be a small coffee reception at 10:00 AM preceding each lecture.

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January 18th, 2011

Emory University Center for Ethics, Yerkes National Primate Research Center
and The Neuroscience Initiative
The First Annual Neuroscience and Ethics Award Lecture with Michael Gazzaniga, Ph.D.

Date: Tuesday, January 18th
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Harland Cinema, Dobbs University Center, Emory

Dr. Gazzaniga is the president of The Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, which he founded in 1982, and is the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, which he also founded. In 1997, Dr. Gazzaniga was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  He also has the Past-President of the American Psychological Society.  He also served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001-2009. In 2005 he was elected to the National Academies Institute of Medicine.  In 2009 he presented the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

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