PEN Distinguished Lecture Series

The PEN Distinguished Lecture Series in Educational Neuroscience was created in association with the Foundations Proseminar course for graduate students in the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program. Since its inception, the series has grown!

The lecture series focuses on the intersection of the Science of Learning (learning across the lifespan) and Educational Neuroscience (learning across early life). Scientists and researchers who are pioneers in the fields of Cognitive-Educational Neuroscience, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and Child Development come to Gallaudet University's campus to talk about their research.

Register for Upcoming Lectures

All lectures are open to the public and are video recorded for online distribution.

PEN DLS brochure for 2021-2022 


Sensitive Periods and Developmental Plasticity for Language Learners

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Many adaptive behaviors, for example, the formation of attachment of young to their mothers and the formation of visual and auditory skills, show heightened sensitivity to the environment in early life. Dr. Newport will suggest that the human ability to learn languages also undergoes the same type of change over age. Children are particularly gifted at language acquisition, but under some circumstances adults can learn the way children do. Our research on the learning of natural and miniature artificial languages is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that make language learning best early in life and change the way learners acquire language over age. The newest direction in our research asks whether the same mechanisms govern neural plasticity and recovery from damage to the brain, making children more able than adults to recover their language abilities; and whether we can reopen these sensitive periods so that adults can recover from neural damage as children do.