UCL offers a wide range of cognitive programmes with a particular emphasis on the investigative methodologies underlying them. For instance, there are currently five related Masters of Science (MSc) programs and two Masters of.
Criminal psychology gained popularity in the early 1990's after a series of Hollywood films generated interest in the forensic field. Today, hundreds of universities around the world offer programs in criminal psychology. Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London is Europe's largest centre for research and post-graduate education in psychiatry, psychology, basic and clinical neuroscience.
DCN Lab - Adele Diamond Home Page. Brief Biosketch. Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and was recently recognized as one the 1.
Diamond is at the forefront of research on . Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). She has made discoveries that have improved treatment for two different medical disorders and discoveries that have impacted education, improving the lives of millions of children. Her work has shown that executive functions can be improved even in the very young. Adele Diamond was educated at Swarthmore (B.
A., Phi Beta Kappa), Harvard (Ph. D.), and Yale Medical School (postdoc). Her many awards include an honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) from Ben- Gurion University, the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society, named a . EFs include being able to 'think outside the box' and see things from other perspectives (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating different ideas and facts to one another (working memory), and giving a considered response rather than an impulsive one, resisting temptations, and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention).
These abilities are crucial for problem- solving, creativity, and reasoning, and for success in all life's aspects. One goal of the lab is to examine fundamental questions about how PFC and EFs are influenced by biological factors (such as genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental factors (including detrimental influences such as poverty or stress and facilitative ones such as interventions). For example, the lab examines ways in which unusual properties of the PFC dopamine system contribute to the exceptional sensitivity and vulnerability of PFC and EFs to environmental and genetic variations that have little effect elsewhere in the brain, and how at least some of these effects are different in men and women. One unusual aspect of the DA system in PFC is a relative dearth of DA transporter proteins, the best way for clearing away released DA. This has many interesting and practical consequences. One of those relates to attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We predict, and are testing, that physicians prescribing the correct dose of psychostimulants for controlling hyperactivity in patients with ADHD are prescribing too high a dose for patients.
Physicians decide on the optimal psychostimulant dose for a child with ADHD by asking the child. The parent bases his/her answer on the child. No one tests the child. We offer a markedly different perspective from mainstream education in hypothesizing that focusing exclusively on training cognitive skills is less efficient, and ultimately less successful, than also addressing youths. Our hypothesis is that besides training the skill(s) of interest, it. 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.
Yet sadness, stress, loneliness, or poor health causes one. Conversely, EFs are better when one feels emotionally and socially nourished and healthy.
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. We expect to show that focusing exclusively on training cognition might not be the best way to improve cognition; emotional and social factors might be key to whether cognition improves. Traditional activities that have been part of all cultures throughout time (e. EFs (requiring focus, concentration, and working memory), make us happy and proud, provide a sense of belonging, and help our bodies develop.
Recently we have turned our attention to the possible roles of music, dance, storytelling, traditional martial arts, positive sports, yoga, mindfulness, and even circus for improving executive functions, academic outcomes and mental and physical health. In the 1. 98. 0s,Adele Diamond. As a graduate student, Diamond realized that for 5. Developmental psychologists called it . Diamond & Goldman- Rakic, 1.
Diamond & Goldman- Rakic, 1. This established the first strong link between early cognitive development and the functions of a specific brain region.
That gave encouragement to others that rigorous experimental work addressing brain- behavior relations was possible in infants. It also fundamentally altered the scientific understanding of PFC early in development; clearly it was not silent as accepted wisdom had held. 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. Diamond went on to facilitate many of the earliest collaborations between developmental and cognitive scientists, on the one hand, and neuroscientists on the other. In the 1. 99. 0s, Diamond. Diamond identified the biological mechanism causing EF deficits in children treated for PKU. No one had ever done anything like that.
Again, the answer lay in integrating two fields. Researchers and clinicians working on inborn errors of metabolism had noticed that children . Neuropharmacologists studying the mesocortical dopamine system in rats had shown that if there is only a modest reduction in the dopamine precursor, tyrosine, PFC is selectively affected. 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 .
They were thereby able to demonstrate the mechanism causing the deficits that had so confounded those working in inborn errors of metabolism, and to demonstrate that the deficits could be prevented by stricter dietary restrictons. Midway through, Diamond learned that the dopamine system in the retina shares the same unusual properties as those that cause PFC to be sensitive to reductions in available tyrosine too small to affect other brain regions.
To be consistent, she had to predict that retinal function would also be adversely impacted in children treated for PKU, so she ventured into vision science to investigate that together with pediatric optometrist, Dr. Sure enough, her team identified the first visual deficit reported in children treated for PKU . Impaired sensitivity to visual contrast in children treated early and continuously for PKU. Brain, 1. 19, 5. 23- 5.
Diamond, A., Prevor, M., Callender, G., & Druin, D. P. Prefrontal cortex cognitive deficits in children treated early and continuously for PKU. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (Monograph #2.
Zagreda, L., Goodman, J., Druin, D. P., Mc. Donald, D., & Diamond, A.
Cognitive deficits in a genetic mouse model of the most common biochemical cause of human mental retardation. Journal of Neuroscience, 1. Diamond, A. A model system for studying the role of dopamine in prefrontal cortex during early development in humans. Luciana (Eds.), Handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience (p.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Blackwell Press. Diamond. By the time her team studied contrast sensitivity, they knew what range of Phe levels produced a deficit and so only sampled from within that range.
The children whose brains were exposed to massive levels of Phe for the first 1. On the basis of this presentation, US national guidelines for when dietary treatment for PKU should begin changed from by 1.
Recent research findings on the effects of age at diet initiation on the visual system. Invited presentation at the NIH Consensus Development Conference on .
Consequences of variations in genes that affect dopamine in prefrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 1. Scientific results are rarely perfectly neat and clean. Why on earth were they not impaired on these 3 tasks? But again she was unwilling to let the inconsistency remain uninvestigated.
Those investigations uncovered that while self- ordered pointing depends on PFC, it is not sensitive to the level of DA in PFC and hence is not affected in children with PKU. Those investigations also led to a line of research, adding techniques in molecular genetics to her arsenal, leading to: 3. In the 2. 00. 0s, Diamond.
The best way to clear released DA is with the dopamine transporter protein. PFC is unusual in that it has very little dopamine transporter.
Unlike other brain regions, PFC has to rely on the catechol- o- methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme to clear DA. For persons of European origin, they are as likely to have a version of the COMT gene that codes for a fast- acting COMT enzyme, leaving less DA in PFC (i. Their results challenged accepted notions that since DA is important for some PFC- dependent cognitive functions, it is important for all (since as predicted, COMT genotype was unrelated to self- ordered pointing performance). The differential sensitivity of distinct cognitive abilities to specific neurotransmitters opens up possibilities for targeted pharmacological interventions. Diamond. Estrogen down- regulates COMT gene transcription; the COMT enzyme is 3. COMT enzyme clears DA more slowly, leaving more DA around longer in PFC). Diamond and her team hypothesized that women may have higher baseline levels of DA in PFC (a more optimum level) and males.
That would be consistent with disorders of too little DA in PFC (e. ADHD) being more common in males and disorders of too much DA in PFC (e.