The Mission

The Science of Learning Institute seeks to understand and optimize the most essential part of our human capital: the ability to learn. The Institute supports interdisciplinary research, training, and outreach programs that will generate scientific discoveries and build meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy.

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Research Highlight:

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers led by cognitive psychologist Jonathan Flombaum dispute standard assumptions about memory, demonstrating for the first time that people's memories for colors are biased in favor of "best" versions of basic colors over colors they actually saw.

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Workshop Funding Opportunity:

Call for Workshop Proposals

The workshop grant program is open to full-time faculty members of JHU. Applications are due March 21, 2016 at 11:59 EST.

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Generating New Ideas

Facilitating dialog and interaction across the divisions and schools of Johns Hopkins University is critical for generating new, interdisciplinary research in the science of learning and instilling a culture of collaboration. SLI's method for doing this is the Belgian Beer Event (BBE):  Several times during each year, faculty, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from across the university are invited to present their research and mingle in a casual, conversational atmosphere.  The locations of these community-building events vary across Johns Hopkins campuses in order to promote greater diversity in participation. 

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Research Funding Opportunity:

Call for Research Proposals

The grant program is open to full-time faculty members of JHU. Applications are due March 21, 2016 at 11:59 EST.

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Conducting Cutting-Edge Science of Learning Research.

Our grant programs generate new scientific discoveries about lifelong learning through interdisciplinary collaborations spanning basic and applied sciences.  

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Training Future Leaders in the Science of Learning.

We train scientists how to think broadly about learning, generate innovative perspectives and research on how we learn, and how to build meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy. 

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Connecting Science to Practice.

We collaborate with educators, practitioners, and policymakers to advance the understanding of science of learning research and translate research into meaningful, evidence-based practices, programs, and policies.

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Funded Research

Why does brain stimulation combined with adaptive working memory...

This project examines whether the combination of electrical brain stimulation and cognitive training can improve cerebral efficiency and plasticity, while simultaneously testing a possible neurobiological mechanism for cognitive fatigue. Results will inform the design of interventions aimed at improving cognitive performance and learning capacity.

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How does learning impact neural networks in the primary visual...

How does learning impact neural networks in the primary visual cortex? This project will investigate learning effects at the neural network level by combining two-photon calcium imaging in animals learning an orientation discrimination task with a state-space analysis approach. Our proposal aims to identify a fundamental learning mechanism that leverages the power of large networks. Our results will help to define the scale at which learning effects need to be studied in the cortex.

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How does the brain control the processing of cooperating and...

How does the brain control the processing of different kinds of information that sometimes need to cooperate and sometimes need to compete, such as sensory information from the outside world versus abstract ideas and relationships? Bridging computational engineering methods, brain imaging techniques, and cognitive neuroscience, this study will test whether the strength of different interactions among multiple brain areas is related to how well an individual person is able to learn different kinds of information. Results will inform our understanding of the mechanisms behind how different parts of the brain communicate with each other. The results also may have implications for treating ADHD, autism, and other disorders with altered interactions between brain areas, and for designing educational methods tailored to the learning strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of typically developing individuals.

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Recent News

Johns Hopkins hosts two-day joint symposia

Distinguished scientists and educators gathered at Johns Hopkins University this week to highlight cutting-edge research on human learning, from pioneering neuroscience to novel pedagogical approaches.

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Nature Publishing Group to launch a new interdisciplinary Science...

npj Science of Learning is the first journal to bring together the findings of neuroscientists, psychologists, and education researchers to understand how the brain learns. The journal is published in partnership between The University of Queensland and Nature Publishing Group (NPG).

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Prominent policy and talent development scholar Jonathan Plucker...

Jonathan Plucker, will join Johns Hopkins University in January as the inaugural Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development.

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Our Experts

Dr. Reza Shadmehr

Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience

Dr. Karin Sandmel

Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education

Dr. Randal Burns

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Dr. Barbara Landau

Director, Science of Learning Institute and Dick and Lydia Todd Professor of Cognitive...

Dr. Fred Bronstein

Dean of the Peabody Institute

Dr. Ed Connor

Professor, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute

Kara Blacker

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Dr. Donald Geman

Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Center for Imaging Science

Dr. Samer Hattar

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Dr. Jonathan Flombaum

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Dwight Bergles

Professor, Snyder Department of Neuroscience and Department of Otolaryngology

Dr. Kyrana Tsapkini

Instructor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Patricia Janak

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Beverly Wendland

James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Shreesh Mysore

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Eleanor Chodroff

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Dr. Janet DiPietro

Professor; Associate Dean fore Research and Faculty; Department of Population, Family, and...

Dr. Kristin Gagnier

Outreach and Evaluation Specialist