Brief post today because we've got Jet Lag Brain after returning from that Learning & the Brain Conference in Boston. Some great presentations, but many reminders of the obstacles bridging the gap between neuroscience research findings and applications to classrooms or individual students.
Dr. Jay Giedd (NIMH) gave an informative and entertaining presentation about updates in our understanding of brain development. He showed the "bluing in" (myelination) of the brain that we blogged about previously in our post on Teen Brain, but the movie caught our attention by how late the superior temporal cortex (implicated in dyslexia) was to mature. More NIMH Child Psychiatry research articles can be found here.
In Giedd's recent child and adolescent brain development (pdf) paper, we also noted that if the curves for females and males were superimposed (assuming similar endpoints in adulthood), boys clearly were more likely to have a "late blooming" profile. This makes sense with the data that show that boys had slower processing times.
Other tidbits from Giedd's talk:
- the brain is highly heritable (0.8), from twin studies
- the cerebellum is the least heritable (0.5)
- cerebellar development highly influenced by environmental factors (especially during adolescence) (my aside: go training, sports, and therapy!)
- cerebellum important in many types of information processing and learning
(bike riding, matrix algebra, etc.)
- boys & girls more alike than different, but vary in trajectories during development
- genes are more predictive of trajectories and slopes than outcomes
Technorati tags: neuroscience, brain, development, fMRI, sensory processing, dyslexia, boys, learning styles, girls, gender