Allyson Mackey’s Questions about Brains of Low-SES Adolescents—and Why Those Are Not Sufficient

Let me provide you with one more summary of a brownbag lunch talk at Penn’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Last December, I attended the talk and I found myself once more building my own sets of questions on top of those the presenter asked and tried to answer. The speaker, Allyson Mackey from the Gabrieli Lab at MIT, is one more scientist who is employing their academic work to tackle social problems: her research on plasticity in the developing brain explores the intersection between income inequality and education. More specifically, she investigates into individual differences in academic outcome as a response to targeted cognitive training, and the associated brain structures and functions.

Using imaging methods such as event-related and resting-state fMRI as well as DTI, Mackey investigates at the cellular level into plasticity that is induced by learning in the highly composite environments that we call schools. Her two major questions are: How does the brain shape learning? (Or: At what age are cognitive skills most malleable?) And: How does learning shape the brain? (Or: How does the brain change as students learn new cognitive skills?) Continue reading

What Kind of Sex Do We Need in Neuroimaging?

(”Like Dancers in a Line” by Viewminder, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Four members of the NeuroGenderings network, Gina Rippon, Rebecca Jordan-Young, Anelis Kaiser, and Cordelia Fine, recently published a fabulous piece on “Recommendations for Sex/Gender Neuroimaging Research: Key Principles and Implications for Research Design, Analysis, and Interpretation” in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.

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