October 26, 2015


Kristin Dunay

(781)-449-4010 x 104

[email protected]



Researchers have found that we can use the brain’s neuroplasticity to train character skills, often called non-cognitive or soft skills, in students through instruction, video games and meditation.

Next month, a distinguished group of neuroscientists, psychologists and educators will explore the science behind these character strengths and why they lead to academic and life success. They will discuss the importance of “character skills,” such as self-control, conscientiousness, resilience, grit, empathy and social-emotional skills in education and share some of the research on how to train these skills before 1,500 educators at the Learning & the Brain® Conference in Boston, MA.

SPONSORS:  The program is co-sponsored by several organizations including the Mind, Brain & Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the Massachusetts Consortium for Social-Emotional Learning in Teacher Education, the Learning & the Brain Foundation and both national associations of elementary and secondary school principals. The event is produced by Public Information Resources, Inc.

Renowned Psychologist Walter Mischel, PhD, will present on “How Mind and Brain Enable Self-Control: The Marshmallow Test and Beyond” during a keynote on Friday, November 13. Dr. Mischel, author of The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control (2015) and pioneer in the study of self-control, will discuss his key findings from the “marshmallow experiments” – which examined the brain mechanisms that underlie and enable self-control and delay of gratification. Dr. Mischel is the Robert Johnson Niven Professor of Human Letters in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University and received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association.

On Sunday morning, Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, will receive the 2015 Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award from the Learning & the Brain Foundation. This award has been presented annually since 2008 to a researcher who has made significant contributions to connecting neuroscience with education. Dr. Hoeft is Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of Hoeft Laboratory for Educational Neuroscience ( at the University of California, San Francisco.

In addition to Drs. Mischel and Hoeft, the program features some other leading experts on the learning sciences including:

▪   Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, Francis Eppes Professor of Psychology, Florida State University; Co-Author, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength (2012); Editor, Self-Esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-Regard (2014) and Handbook of Self-Regulation: Research, Theory and Applications (2013, 2nd Edition)

▪   Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection With Trust (2015) and Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings (2011)

▪   Rick Hanson, PhD, Senior Fellow, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley; Founder, Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom; Author, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence (2013) and Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom (2009)

▪   Neal H. Mayerson, PhD, Clinical Psychological; Chairman/Founder, VIA Institute on Character, who collaborated with Renowned Psychologist Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman on the founding of positive psychology and VIA; Co-Founder, Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children

▪   Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, PhD, Applied Developmental Psychologist; Professor, Human Development, Learning and Culture, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia

▪   Laurence Steinberg, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Temple University; Author, Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence (2014) and Catching Up or Leading the Way (2009)

WHEN: Friday, November 13 – Sunday, November 15. Conference begins 1:30 PM. General Registration is $579 through November 6 and $599 after November 6.   Contact Kristin Dunay at 781-449-4010 x 104 for media passes.
WHERE: Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA

Learning & the Brain® is a series of educational conferences that brings the latest research in the learning sciences and their potential applications to education to the wider educational community. Since its inception in 1999, more than 50,000 people in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago have attended this series.


For more information about the conference, visit

category: News

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