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Rethinking Brain and Early Childhood: Advances in Science and Policy

Date: November 13, 2012
Time: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Registration and Reception: 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm; Presentation 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Speaker(s):

John T. Bruer, PhD

Sponsored by: NYAM Section on Psychiatry and Section on Pediatrics and NYAM Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health

Location: The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029


In this talk, Dr. Bruer will debunk many popular beliefs about the all-or-nothing effects of early experience on a childhood brain development and its use in educational policy decisions. In the mid-1990s, there was an effort to provide a neuroscientific rationale for early childhood programs and policies. Although this public relations effort was hugely successful world-wide, the neuroscience used in the campaign was over-simplified and over-generalized, and has since been discredited. However, this first wave of the neuroscience of early childhood has spawned at least two other waves, which continue to influence policy discussions in nations around the world, but particularly in the UK. Drawing on years of research on cognitive neuroscience, he will distinguish these three waves in terms of their source, strength of claims, type of explanation, and use of scientific language. This analysis in turn raises questions about the appropriate role of scientists and universities in presenting policy relevant research to the public.

About the Speaker(s)

Dr. Bruer is the president of the James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation’s major program interests have been in cognitive neuroscience and applications of cognitive science to education and rehabilitation.

In 1995, Dr. Bruer was appointed to the newly-formed National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board established by the Congress. He is the author of Schools for Thought: A Science of Learning in the Classroom (MIT Press, 1993), winner of the American Federation of Teachers 1993 Quality in Educational Standards Award and the 1994 Charles S. Grawemeyer Award in Education from the University of Louisville, and The Myth of Birth to Three (Free Press 1999), winner of the 2000 American Psychological Associations Eleanor Maccoby award.

Prior to joining the McDonnell Foundation, Dr. Bruer served as a program officer at the Rockefeller and Macy Foundations. He holds degrees in the philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Oxford, and Rockefeller University.

 

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Cost: Free, advance registration is required
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