Researchers and educators tend to focus on one aspect of a person in isolation.
For example, efforts to study or to improve cognitive skills (such as EFs) or academic performance are generally done ignoring whether participants are happy or sad, lonely or healthy.
Adele Diamond Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Department of Psychiatry University of British Columbia (UBC) 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Room G842 Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1 Canada Head, Program in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Dept. Long-lasting, selective visual deficits from short-term exposure to high neonatal phenylalanine levels in humans. (abstract) (pdf) Albert, M., Diamond, A., Fitch, H., Neville, H., Rapp, P., and Tallal, P.
of Psychiatry, UBC (2008- ) Founding Fellow, Institute of Mental Health, UBC (2006-) Member, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Undergraduate Program in Cognitive Systems, Centre for Brain Health, UBC the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) Child and Family Research Institute Neuro Dev Net, a Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) dedicated to helping children overcome neurodevelopmental disorders Faculty Fellow, Green College at UBC (2007-2009) Founding Member, CIRCA (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism) at UBC (2010- ) [up] [home] Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Social and/or emotional aspects of, or adjuncts to, a program to improve cognitive skills might be key to whether and/or how much that program succeeds.
We hope our research might fundamentally change the approach and underlying assumptions (i.e., shift the paradigm) of how to improve cognitive skills and how to educate children. A model system for studying the role of dopamine in prefrontal cortex during early development in humans.
Even though PFC is very immature early in life and takes a very long time to develop, it can already subserve elementary versions of the highest cognitive functions during the first year of life. Conditions under which young children CAN hold two rules in mind and inhibit a prepotent response. doi:10.1037//0012-1622.214.171.1242 PMID:12005379 (abstract) (pdf) Diamond, A.
The parent bases his/her answer on the childs behavior. Another goal of the lab is to find practical ways to help children develop healthy EFs, and thus to help more children thrive.
Diamond realized that the latter might provide a mechanism to account for the former because children well-treated for PKU typically had slightly elevated blood levels of phenylalanine (Phe) and slightly reduced blood levels of tyrosine. Executive functioning in preschoolers: Reducing the inhibitory demands of the dimensional change card sort task. doi:10.1016/20 PMID:15301752 (abstract) (pdf) Diamond, A., Briand , L., Fossella , J., & Gehlbach, L. Genetic and neurochemical modulation of prefrontal cognitive functions in children.
Since Phe and tyrosine compete to enter the brain, a modest elevation in the Phe to tyrosine ratio in blood would result in a modest reduction in the amount of tyrosine reaching the brain a reduction sufficient to impact PFC but too small to impact other brain regions. Not quite as grown-up as we like to think: Parallels between cognition in childhood and adulthood. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01530.x PMID:15828976 NIHMS:16818 (abstract) (pdf) Rennie, D., Bull, R.
Developmental psychologists called it A-not-B and used it to study cognitive development in infants; neuroscientists called it delayed response and used it to study the functions of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in monkeys.
Building on that insight, she undertook a systematic program of research to chart the developmental progression of human infants on A-not-B and delayed response plus a transparent barrier task (to obtain converging evidence from a very different paradigm), the developmental progression of infant monkeys on the 3 tasks, the effect of lesions on adult monkeys' performance of those tasks, and the effect of lesions on infant monkeys' performance of the tasks (see Table below). It also fundamentally altered the scientific understanding of PFC early in development; clearly it was not silent as accepted wisdom had held. Normal development of prefrontal cortex from birth to young adulthood: Cognitive functions, anatomy, and biochemistry.