PEN Lecture Series

Academic Year 2018-2019

The Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) Program proudly presents the 2018-2019 PEN Distinguished Lecture Series in Educational Neuroscience.

 

"From Mirror Neurons to Society:
How the Brain and Experience Provide
New Insights into Learning"


Presented in conjunction with the PEN 701 Proseminar, the PEN Program's 2018-2019 PEN Distinguished Lecture Series in Educational Neuroscience honors world-renowned scientists and aims to form a bridge between science and society.

The 2018-2019 presenters have helped change the landscape of science. Each presenter will share their discoveries with us as we forge new links across research communities within Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., and the world. 

Location
All lectures are open to the public and will take place in the Merrill Learning Center (Library), B111, from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Interpreters and CART services will be provided.                             

Live Streaming Available
All lectures will be live streamed at Gallaudet University's Webcast Channel. Additional lectures from 2008 to the present are also archived and available on this channel.

Download the 2018-2019 PEN Distinguished Lecture Series program book.

 

About 2018-2019 PEN Distinguished Lecture Series Presenters

More details to come! Would you like to be the first to know about new PEN Distinguished Lecture Series content? Send an email to Vl2@gallaudet.edu with your full contact information in order to be added to our online marketing list.

Presentations

Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti
Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti
The “Mirror” Brain

Mirror mechanism is a basic neural mechanism that transforms sensory representations of others' actions into motor representations of the same actions in the brain of the observer. In the first part of my talk I will describe the functions of the mirror mechanism located in the parieto-fontal network of monkeys and humans. I will show that this mechanism enables one to understand others in an immediate, phenomenological way, without recourse to cognitive inferential processing. In the second part of my talk I will discuss the role of the mirror mechanism in understanding basic Darwinian emotions. I will focus on disgust, fear and happiness and will demonstrate the role of the mirror mechanism in empathic experience of these emotions, contrasting it to their mere cognitive recognition. The data on emotions will lead me to the last part of my talk where I will present stereo-EEG data on action and emotion recognition. Stereo-EEG allows one to go beyond the static three-dimensional maps obtained with fMRI providing a four dimensional picture (space plus time) of brain activations during different types of actions.

Dr. Sebastian Lipina
Dr. Sebastian Lipina
Contemporary Neuroscientific Contributions to the Study of Childhood Poverty

The aim of this presentation is to offer a synthesis of the contemporary evidence of neuroscientific studies of childhood poverty, in terms of (1) which associations have been identified between the experience of poverty and changes in the nervous system; (2) what mediators and moderators have been identified in such associations (particularly those related to the regulation of stress and the quality of parenting environments); and (3) what are the implications of this evidence for the design of interventions and policies. Although the neuroscientific available evidence supports the notion about the importance of investing resources to promote different aspects of child development, its correlational and preliminary nature requires caution in: (a) sustaining notions about causal mechanisms that function as unique determinants of development; (b) reducing the explanation of complex phenomena that involve different levels of organization to only one of them (e.g., neural or social); and (c) disseminating misconceptions and over-generalizations of neurobiological phenomena. Finally, the presentation will approach some of the future directions that could expand opportunities for scientific-political transference, which include -among other possible ones- the testing of new technologies aimed at identifying processes of change and neural adaptation, as well as specific markers, in the context of interventions; and the development of computational efforts based on Relational Developmental Systems (RDS) conceptions that would contribute to policy decision-making processes.

Dr. Marie Coppola
Dr. Marie Coppola
Amodal neurolinguistic and cognitive representations: Evidence from prosody and number concepts in ASL signers and English speakers

The aim of this presentation is to offer a synthesis of the contemporary evidence of neuroscientific studies of childhood poverty, in terms of (1) which associations have been identified between the experience of poverty and changes in the nervous system; (2) what mediators and moderators have been identified in such associations (particularly those related to the regulation of stress and the quality of parenting environments); and (3) what are the implications of this evidence for the design of interventions and policies. Although the neuroscientific available evidence supports the notion about the importance of investing resources to promote different aspects of child development, its correlational and preliminary nature requires caution in: (a) sustaining notions about causal mechanisms that function as unique determinants of development; (b) reducing the explanation of complex phenomena that involve different levels of organization to only one of them (e.g., neural or social); and (c) disseminating misconceptions and over-generalizations of neurobiological phenomena. Finally, the presentation will approach some of the future directions that could expand opportunities for scientific-political transference, which include -among other possible ones- the testing of new technologies aimed at identifying processes of change and neural adaptation, as well as specific markers, in the context of interventions; and the development of computational efforts based on Relational Developmental Systems (RDS) conceptions that would contribute to policy decision-making processes.

Dr. Sian Beilock
Dr. Sian Beilock
Overcoming anxiety about math

Basic math skills are important for success in school and everyday life. Yet many people experience apprehension and fear when dealing with numerical information, termed math anxiety. In this talk I will discuss both antecedents and consequences of math anxiety, revealing some surprising insights into its onset, risk factors, and remediation.

Dr. Ted Supalla
Dr. Ted Supalla
Revisiting the Process of Grammaticalization in Signed Languages

A key factor in our ability to carry out historical linguistics work on signed languages has been our creation of a database containing historical corpora of the early stages of ASL. In turn, this allows us trace the history of morphological persistence and change among co-dependent forms sharing a common grammatical function. The observation of these processes in sign languages over time provides evidence for cross-modal validity of the grammaticalization model described in Givon (1979) and reproduced in Brinton & Traugott 2005 as follows: Discourse > syntax > morphology > morphophonemics > zero. The opaque forms we find as relics, left over from obsolete paradigms in ASL, illustrate the “zero” endpoint of grammaticalization. Such forms do not appear in young sign languages. As in spoken languages, grammaticalization proceeds in a unidirectional fashion. In fact, the historical linguistic research show similarities across sign and spoken languages and are suggestive of universal linguistic and cognitive patterns.