Cognitive development in kids a dynamic process, says neuroscience expert

Two boys, Nico and Brooke, each suffered the removal of an entire brain hemisphere (Nico his right and Brooke his left) to control severe epilepsy — yet these boys became high-functioning young adults, finishing high school and entering college. Dr. Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang is an expert on educational neuroscience and Assistant Professor of Education and Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the USC Rossier School of Education. She asks an intriguing question: “How are these boys compensating?”

Dr. Immordino-Yang’s research seeks to understand how learning experiences shape children’s brains and cognitive development. Experts are coming to see brain development as an active, dynamic process. A learner’s approach to problem solving may actually organize his or her brain over time — and conversely, a learner’s particular neuropsychological strengths may shape his or her problem-solving approach. The two boys Dr. Immordino-Yang studied were able to develop skills that standard neuropsychological wisdom would not have predicted them to acquire, given their brain damage. Each young man appears to have mustered together solutions to “unsolvable” problems — leaving them with unexpected and remarkable strengths and abilities. They are capitalizing on their remaining strengths, doing things well, but differently from other people. This has broader implications for education, explains Dr. Immordino-Yang:

“Educators might think seriously about the problems they put to their students and the various neuropsychological ways that these problems could actually be interpreted and processed. What we intend as a simple math exercise, for example, could in essence be a verbal problem to one child, a spatial problem to another, and even an affective or social problem to a third, who may be thinking of the emotional implications of, say, the solution to a mathematics word problem.”

Dr. Immordino-Yang will speak at our TEDxManhattanBeach conference in October 2011. We invite you to come hear her in person!

TED Active 2011

I just spent an amazing week at TED Active 2011 in Palm Springs. The conference was attended by around 500 people and there were over 160 TEDx Organizers from all over the world. If you want to get a feel for the 6 day event then please watch some of the following videos.

TED Active 2011 Day 1

TED Active 2011 Day 2

TED Active 2011 Day 3

If you have ever wandered why people like to get together and watch TED talks I think that this Harvard Business Review article is very helpful.

I hope that through TEDxManhattanBeach events many people will be able to enjoy some of the fun of a conference like TED Active.


Added Later:

Theses blog articles was written by Hannah who was watching the TED Live Stream they describe the talks far better than I could. Here is her bio…

My name is Hannah & I’ve been sick all my life. Even though we didn’t know it at the time, I was born with Lyme Disease (my mum had it when she was pregnant with my twin sister & I), which means that I suffered hearing loss, seizures, severe dyslexia, & eventually paralysis, which put me in my wheelchair (it is very groovy, it’s painted with vines, and leaves & flowers & is called Ivy). The good news is that I am now starting to get well & am no longer dying – thanks to some really great Dr’s I am now able to walk, talk, swallow & breathe easily again. I’m still doing treatment and rehab, but I’m finally getting better & not dying anymore (my hope is for remission).

TEDxManhattanBeach – 2011 Conference

We are very excited to announce the theme and the speakers for the 2011 TEDxManhattanBeach Conference. The conference will be held on the evening of Thursday February 10, 2011.

Theme – Vitality – Living Longer and Better.
Research into the places with the highest concentrations of people 100-years-old and older identified five locations worldwide. Dubbed “blue zones” these communities shared several traits that not only helped them live longer, but also better. The findings were shared in National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times best-selling book, The Blue Zones. The concept of using “blue zone” principles to improve a community’s health was born from this research. Our 2011 Conference explores how to create new Blue Zones.


Lisa Santora. Dr. Santora is the Chief Medical Officer of the Beach Cities Health District (BCHD). The BCHD was formed in 1955, it is the special-purpose government district responsible for the improving the health of the citizens of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach, California, USA.

Joel Spoonheim. Joel Spoonheim is director of the Healthways | Blue Zones Vitality City initiative. A leader in community transformation, he has worked for city governments, a food manufacturer, healthcare companies, and non-profits directing major initiatives that require engaging diverse stakeholders and complex problem solving.

Haley Rushing. Haley Rushing co-founded the Purpose Institute along with Roy Spence. The Purpose Institute is an organization dedicated exclusively to helping clients discover and articulate their purpose and values in the world. Haley and her husband, R.W., live in Austin, Texas, with their twin daughters.

Dan Burden. Dan Burden is an internationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs, livability, sustainability and Smart Growth. He brings together many disciplines and issues – street design, traffic calming, living streets, public safety, bicycling, and greenways – into a holistic vision for creating healthy, livable, sustainable and prosperous communities.

More Information
For more information please check out the event page.

Join Us for the January Social

Music, both as a performance and as a topic of discussion, has always been a part of the annual TED conference in Long Beach but we haven’t had music as a TEDxMB theme—until now! The January Social will feature Music, including some carefully curated TED videos. Our monthly events draw a brilliant crowd from the Southbay seeking connections, experiences, and exposure to new ideas. Join in with our community!

Just click on the button below for more information and to register.