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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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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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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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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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

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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SLI Researchers Selected to Co-Direct the New Kavli Neuroscience...

The Kavli Foundation and its university partners announced this morning the founding of three new neuroscience institutes, including one at Johns Hopkins. The new Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at The Johns Hopkins University, expected to launch in early 2016, will bring an interdisciplinary group of researchers together to investigate the workings of the brain.

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Our Experts

Dr. Richard Edden

Associate Professor, Department of Radiology

Dr. Benjamin Van Durme

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

Dr. James Pekar

Manager and Research Coordinator, F. M. Kirby Research Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute ...

Dr. David Foster

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Mr. Mike Alexander

Program Coordinator

Bob Wiley

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Dr. Alfredo Kirkwood

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Robert Blum

William H. Gates Sr. Professor & Chair, Dept. of Population, Family & Reproductive Health;...

Dr. Mariale Hardiman

Professor & Vice Dean of Academic Affairs; Director of Neuro-Education Initiative

Dr. Bonnie Nozari

Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology & Cognitive Science

Dr. Kelly R. Fisher

Associate Director, Science of Learning Institute and Assistant Professor in the School of Education

Dr. Beverly Wendland

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

Dr. Rebecca Haberman

Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Mark Chevillet

Program Manager, Applied Physics Laboratory

Dr. Jeremiah Cohen

Assistant Professor, Brain Science Institute, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Peter Holland

Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Elaine Hansen

Executive Director, Center for Talented Youth

Dr. David Linden

Professor, Department of Neuroscience