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The Neuroscience of Social, Emotional and Academic Learning

Richard Davidson | 20:21


Thank you all very, very much. It really is just a delight to be here and an honor to, uh, be, uh, considered a part of this amazing collaborative, which I have been, uh, a champion and fan of from afar. And, uh, it's just, uh, great to. To be here and in a very short amount of time, share with you what has been some absolutely amazing work that has been going on, uh, in neuroscience and its relevance to social and emotional education.

And if there's one take home message that I'd like you to, uh, walk away with from my presentation today, it's that social emotional learning changes the.  and the brain is really the organ that is the target of these interventions. So this is, uh, a very ambitious outline of what I hope to cover. I'm going to tell you a snippet about neuroplasticity.

The idea that the brain is the organ that's built to change in response to experience. I'll then tell you a little bit about what we know. One of the key attributes, which is shaped by social and emotional learning, which is a child's capacity to regulate her or his emotions. And finally, I'm gonna conclude by suggesting that we can change the brain by training the mind through social and emotional learning.

We know that environmental factors influence and shape the brain. Uh, we know that the emotional environment in early life in particular, is absolutely central in shaping the circuits of the brain in ways that persist throughout an organism's entire, uh, adult lifespan. The brains of children are constantly being shaped.

They're literally being molded by experie. Both of a negative and positive sort, both wily and unwittingly. And I think our task must be to take the reins and to promote positive brain changes. And one of the central vehicles is through social and emotional learning. One of the things I tell my students is that behavioral interventions or bi.

That is if you, you do something to intervene in a way that changes behavior, it's got to be the case that you're changing the brain. There's no other way that we know for behavior to change other than through its change in the brain. And in fact, there's every reason to think that behavioral interventions can produce more specific brain changes than any biological intervention like a me.

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