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:

Reading is a complex ability that emerges from learning extended over many years. In this project Professor Michael McCloskey and colleagues will pursue two exciting findings from their research on reading deficits caused by brain damage.

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Partnering with the community

SLI is partnering with the Baltimore County Pubic Schools to promote spatial thinking in K-12 science education.  SLI has developed and hosted workshops for in-service teachers on the importance of spatial thinking for improving K-12 math and science learning and we are partnering on a project to enhance spatial thinking in the BCPS K-12 science curriculum. 

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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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News Highlight

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology:  General, lead author Dr. Jonathan Flombaum found that although people can distinguish between millions of colors, we have trouble remembering specific shades because our brains tend to store what we've seen as one of just a few basic hues.

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News Highlight

Research by SLI's Janet DiPietro on fetal development and learning is featured in the September 2015 edition of the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.  

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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

Perceptual Learning in the Sensory Cortex: Circuit Dynamics and...

Learning new skills depend on changes in the underlying neural activity, and in many cases, are improved by active engagement of the learner. What large-scale changes in cortical encoding underlie perceptual learning? How does norepinephrine, a key neuromodulator involved in cognitive alertness, influence cortical circuits to promote perceptual learning? Our experiments will advance the science of learning toward an integrated view of the neurobiological basis of perceptual learning. Project results may facilitate development of methods for improving learning by directed manipulations of neuromodulatory systems in normal and diseased brains.

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Do Tech-driven Learning Experiences Using Macaronic Language...

This project bridges educational theory and novel techniques from artificial intelligence engineering and machine translation to develop a new web-based foreign language-learning platform. The research will produce novel, technology-driven learning experiences that, if successful, will provide new means of teaching foreign languages.

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How Does The Sleep/Wake Cycle Regulate The Neural Plasticity...

This project integrates methodological and conceptual expertise on neural plasticity and circadian rhythms to understand the cellular mechanisms underlying daily fluctuations in learning. Besides providing a cellular understanding for circadian variations in learning, findings of this research may have significant implications for understanding learning deficits in schizophrenia and autism.

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Recent News

SLI Researchers Receive Discovery Awards

Four SLI researchers have received Johns Hopkins University's new Discovery Awards to bridge medicine and engineering.

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SLI research featured in Monographs of the Society for Research...

SLI Researcher provides synthesis 75 years worth of research on fetal behavior in Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

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SLI Researchers visit Singapore

SLI Researchers visit Nanyang Technological University to discuss current and future directions in the Science of Learning.

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Our Experts

Dr. Brenda Rapp

Professor, Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Gyusung Lee

Instructor, Department of Surgery

Dr. Paul Worley

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Paul Rothman

Frances Watt Baker, M.D., and Lenox D. Baker Jr., M.D. Dean of Medical Faculty and Vice...

Dr. Robert Lieberman (Chair)

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Ralph Semmel

Director, Applied Physics Laboratory

Dr. Michael Miller

Herschel & Ruth Seder Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Director,...

Dr. Marina Bedny

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Paul Smolensky

Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Cognitive Science

Dr. David Andrews

Dean, School of Education

Dr. David Valle

Henry J. Knott Professor and Director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine; Professor,...

Dr. Raman Arora

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

Dr. Xiaoqin Wang

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Director, Tsinghua-Johns Hopkins Joint Center...

Dr. Ed Connor

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

Dr. Colin Wilson

Associate Professor, Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Mengnan Tian

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Fred Bronstein

Dean of the Peabody Institute

Dr. Patricia Janak

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences