Digital Media & Developing Minds

Co-sponsored by Children and Screens with Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, the second Digital Media and Developing Minds national interdisciplinary conference brought together scientists and researchers in the fields of neuroscience, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, communications, education, public health, epidemiology and others to:

  • Continue a dialogue between medical researchers and those in the social sciences field who study media effects.

  • Learn and exchange ideas on the cognitive, mental, physical and social impacts of digital media on youth, families, culture, and learning.

  • Identify and report on state-of-the-art empirical research on the impact of digital media on developing minds (i.e. toddlers, children, and adolescents).

  • Put to use new medically-based research techniques to use studying the potential impact of media use on children’s developing minds.

  • Meet and network with funders, educators, and industry leaders.

  • Qualify to submit proposals for seed funding for collaborative, interdisciplinary research immediately following the conference.

Learn more at:

Graphic Recording by Peter Durand


A Recipe for Success: Skill, Knowledge & Attitude

A Recipe for Success: Skill, Knowledge & Attitude

To acquire a new skill, we may follow a recipe, or maybe we cook by instinct and follow our gut. Either way it requires us to begin. From there, the path involves cultivating three these three things. Let’s define each of these elements in the context of being a service professional learning something new.

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RadioLab Asks “Who Am I?”

photo: ross pollack

Like brains and baboons?

Something in the way our brain operates tells us about our ability to imagine and perceive ourselves. So, what makes me “Me” and what makes you ”You”? And where, exactly, is the sense of self located in the brain? 

The "mind" and "self" were formerly the domain of philosophers and priests.

But in this hour of Radiolab, neurologists lead the charge on profound questions like, "How does the brain make me?"

The hosts visit U.C. San Diego neurologist, V.S.Ramachandran who describes the evolution of human consciousness… or the difference between the way we think of some abstraction, like love, and the way a baboon thinks of a rear end.

7 Tips for Overcoming Fear of Scribing

7 Tips for Overcoming Fear of Scribing

Stage fright. Butterflies in the stomach. Cold feet. Whatever name you use for the feeling, they all describe the same thing — the fear of failing publicly. So, how can graphic recorders effectively balance the flood of new information and process those ethereal ideas in concrete visual form, even while quietly freaking out?

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4/5 LIVE WEBCAST - Rock the Monkey: Visual Facilitation Skills & Brain-Based Learning


Click the link for local broadcast times and to register:

We will be talking about the visual, must-know, brain-based techniques that you need as a facilitator, consultant, teacher or coach in order to increase the success of your clients and students, while making you look like a rockstar. 
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While a Magician Works, the Mind Does the Tricks

We often refer to graphic recording as a magic trick: We watch a human pull images from thin air, grabbing pictures and ideas from the vapor of conversation and giving them physical form. This NY Times article gives insight on why the physical performance of illusion is so captivating and how the brain uses neural tricks to do this: approximating, cutting corners, instantaneously and subconsciously choosing what to “see” and what to let pass.
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Brainpower May Lie in Complexity of Synapses

We always if we were smarter than chimps (or at least baboons).
Here is clinical proof as to why the human brain has a better handle on complexity.

This article profiles a whole new dimension of evolutionary complexity has now emerged from a cross-species study led by Dr. Seth Grant at the Sanger Institute in England.

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Evolution’s recipe for making a brain more complex has long seemed simple enough. Just increase the number of nerve cells, or neurons, and the interconnections between them. A human brain, for instance, is three times the volume of a chimpanzee’s.

The computing capabilities of the human brain may lie not so much in its neuronal network as in the complex calculations that its synapses perform, Dr. Grant said. Vertebrate synapses have about 1,000 different proteins, assembled into 13 molecular machines, one of which is built from 183 different proteins.

These synapses are not standard throughout the brain, Dr. Grant’s group has found; each region uses different combinations of the 1,000 proteins to fashion its own custom-made synapses.

Each synapse can presumably make sophisticated calculations based on messages reaching it from other neurons. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons, interconnected at 100 trillion synapses.

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Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain

In working with many diverse groups of people, coming together to solve complex problems, I am absolutely flummoxed by this paradox: young minds struggle with complex, inter-related problems, while "more mature" minds struggle to learn new concepts.

Rather than throw both brains out with the bathwater (what a badly mixed metaphor!) how best do we design collaborative projects and discussions that accommodate all brains, whether wily, worldly or wise?

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Yarek Waszul

When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.

The studies are analyzed in a new edition of a neurology book, “Progress in Brain Research.”

For example, in studies where subjects are asked to read passages that are interrupted with unexpected words or phrases, adults 60 and older work much more slowly than college students. Although the students plow through the texts at a consistent speed regardless of what the out-of-place words mean, older people slow down even more when the words are related to the topic at hand. That indicates that they are not just stumbling over the extra information, but are taking it in and processing it.

Nancy Andreasen: On Creative People

Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.

Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa; Institute of Medicine member; Editor in Chief, The American Journal of Psychiatry; 2006 Vanderbilt Prize Winner for outstanding woman in biomedical research

As part of the Discovery Series Lectures, Andreasen speaks on life, literature, science, children, women and creativity. Although they may have moments of self-confidence coupled with self-doubt, she finds creative people as having a natural innocent and humility that drives them to push against themselves. They are not driven by a "prize". Most often, creative personalities are driven towards answering a question or creating something.

"They are driven," notes Andreasen "by a sense that they haven't gotten it quite right."

This sense of disquiet comes from a profound acknowledgment. "Most find that creativity is a gift. If you've got something that is a gift, you don't feel that it belongs to you. That's what keeps creative people humble."