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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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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News Highlight

A new Science of Learning Institute partnership will help caregivers support their children's early literacy through research-based museum exhibits and resources.

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Training the next generation of scientists

There is growing recognition that the next generation of scientists must think broadly about how we learn, be able to synthesize knowledge from multiple scientific perspectives, generate innovative, interdisciplinary research, and use these to bridge research, practice, and policy. Our training programs provide young scientists with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the science of learning and its applications to address real world issues.

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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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News Highlight

SLI's Kelly Fisher and Susan Magsamen present at a SXSWedu conference as part of the panel discussion on translating research in early childhood education into practice across a variety of childhood settings.

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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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Upcoming Events

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Our Experts

Dr. Karin Sandmel

Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education

Dr. Argye Hillis

Director, Cerebrovascular Division of Neurology and Professor of Neurology

Dr. Benjamin Van Durme

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Center for Language and Speech...

Dr. Erica Sibinga

Associate Professor, Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Winston Tabb

Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums

Dr. Bruno Jedynak

Associate Research Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics & Statistics; Center for Imaging...

Dr. Brenda Rapp

Professor, Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Samer Hattar

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Dr. Tracy Vannorsdall

Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neurology

Dr. Steven Holochwost

Advisor on Research and Program Evaluation

Dr. Anand Mattay

Investigator and Director of the Neuroimaging Core Facility at the Lieber Institute

Dr. Nancy Madden

Professor, School of Education; President and Co-Founder, Sucess for All

Dr. Shreesh Mysore

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Richard Huganir

Professor and Director, Department of Neuroscience; Co-Director, Brain Science Institute

Dr. Paul Worley

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Nettie Legters

Research Scientist, Center for Social Organization of Schools and Associate Director of the...

Dr. Jonathan Flombaum

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. David Linden

Professor, Department of Neuroscience