The Chancellor’s Lecture – Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

7th Nov 2014, 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Edge Hill University


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The Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. She studies the social brain, the network of brain regions involved in understanding others, and how it develops in adolescence. She also has an interest in the links between neuroscience and education.

Is there a reason why teenagers take more risks, and are more influenced by their peers, than adults? Is the adolescent brain different to that of an adult? Professor Blakemore and others in her field are finding that it really is.

The latest research shows that several areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, develop gradually during adolescence. The prefrontal cortex is part of the brain that handles high level cognitive skills such as self-awareness and forward planning. It also deals with behavioural choices and the consequences of making these decisions, and influences risk taking and peer pressure. Using insights from the neuroscience of adolescence could help us engage teenagers more effectively in education, as well as in everyday life.

Sarah-Jayne is currently Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Four Year PhD Programme in Neuroscience at UCL and is also editor in chief of the journal Development Cognitive Neuroscience.

She has won a number of awards for her research, most recently The Turin Young Mind and Brain Prize 2013 and The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2013. She was one of 40 ‘Young Scientists’ invited to the annual meeting of the New Champions, World Economic Forum, China 2012 and was elected a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2014. Sarah-Jayne is actively involved in Public Engagement with Science; she has worked with the Select Committee for Education, acted as scientific consultant on the BBC series The Human Mind and gave a TED talk at TEDGlobal, Edinburgh in 2012, which has had more than 1.3 million views. TED is a global non-profit organisation that shares ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. She was named in the Sunday Times 100 makers of the 21st Century list 2014 and one of 30 under 45 in The Times Young Female Power List 2014.

The annual Chancellor’s Lecture is one of the major events in the University’s calendar. Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron, a chartered clinical psychologist, journalist, author and broadcaster will introduce the lecture and chair the Q&A session.

Previous speakers at the Chancellor’s Lecture have included the Reverend Jesse Jackson, social campaigner Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE and journalist Giles Fraser.

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