Art and the Brain
Upcoming BrainTalk on March 22, 2012
Art and the Brain: How dance, music, sports, and storytelling may support critical cognitive development in children and youth
On Thursday evening, March 22, Dr. Adele Diamond will talk about executive functions and how they develop in children and youth, at the Paetzold Theatre at Vancouver General Hospital. Executive functions are higher order cognitive functions that play a large role in determining a person’s success in school and in life. Some examples of executive functions include planning, problem solving, multi-tasking, working memory (holding several things in your mind at once and working through them), verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, initiation and monitoring of actions. In Dr. Diamond’s talk, she will review how and why dance, music, sports and storytelling, may well support the development of executive functions in children and youth. Dr. Diamond has shown that executive function skills can be improved in very young children in regular classrooms, without specialists or expensive equipment. She is currently investigating how play, the arts, dance, storytelling, and physical activity may improve executive functions and academic and mental health outcomes.
A leader in two fields, psychology and neuroscience, Adele Diamond helped pioneer a now flourishing interdisciplinary field, “developmental cognitive neuroscience.” For over 30 years, Adele Diamond has been studying the most complex human abilities (collectively referred to as ‘executive functions,’ which include attention, self-control, and reasoning). As the Canada Research Chair Tier 1 Professor in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at UBC, Professor Diamond studies how executive functions can be modified by the environment, modulated by genetics and neurochemistry, become derailed in disorders, and can be improved by effective programs and interventions. Her work has helped change medical practice for the treatment of PKU (phenylketonuria) and for the inattentive type of ADHD.