About Adele Diamond FRSC

Professor of Neuroscience

What You'll Learn in Adele's TEFOS Session:

Executive Function, a Thorough Exploration

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Website: http://www.devcogneuro.com/

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About Adele Diamond:

Adele Diamond, the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, is one of the founders the field of developmental
cognitive neuroscience.

Her specialty is executive functions (creative problem-solving, self-control, focused attention, and working memory). She studies how they are affected by biological factors (e.g., genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (e.g., impaired by stress or improved by interventions). Her work has emphasized that executive functions can be improved even in the very young and very old, and anywhere in-between.

Executive functions depend in prefrontal cortex and other brain regions with which it is interconnected. Prefrontal cortex, and thus executive functions, are the first to suffer and suffer the most if anyone is sad,
stress, lonely, or not in good physical health. Thus, Prof. Diamond is an outspoken proponent that we have to
care about people’s emotional, social, and physical well-being, if we want them to be able to problem-solve,
exercise self-control, or display any of the other executive functions.

Thus, Prof. Diamond offers a markedly different perspective from mainstream education in hypothesizing that focusing exclusively on training cognitive skills is less efficient, and ultimately less successful, than also addressing emotional, social, spiritual, and physical needs. And, she offers a markedly different perspective from traditional medical practice in hypothesizing that treating physical health, without also addressing social and emotional health is less efficient or effective.

Dr. Diamond’s discoveries have had a significant impact on educational practice worldwide, improving millions of children’s lives. And, her work on the unusual properties of the dopamine system in prefrontal cortex has thrice changed international medical guidelines for the treatment of diseases.

Adele Diamond is the first in her immediate family to graduate high school or go to college. She was educated at Swarthmore College (where she received her BA, Phi Beta Kappa, in Sociology-Anthropology and Psychology), Harvard University (where she received her PhD in Developmental Psychology), and Yale Medical School (where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience). Dr. Diamond has given roughly 600 invited addresses, including at the White House and to the Dalai Lama, in over 40 countries across six continents. She has held NIH R01 research grants continuously for over 30 years and overseen over $24 million in research funding. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, received an Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society, was named one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century,” was listed as one of the 15 most influential neuroscientists alive today, and her impact was recently ranked among the top 0.01% of all scientists across all fields.

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