Beatrice H. Barrett Lectures on Brain and Behavior: Paradigm Fusion
The Barrett Initiative works to disseminate information within the behavior analysis community, the neuroscience community, and the scientific community at large that to advance the understanding of the connections between operant behavior and neural activity. In addition to publications, the Barrett Institute hosts a range of virtual and live events featuring researchers from both neuroscience, behavior analysis, and other complimentary disciplines. You can also find us annually at the annual conference of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), Texas Association of Behavior Anaysis (TxABA), and many other regional, national, and international conferences.
Upcoming for Fall 2023:
Dr. Michael Merzenich
Talk 1: The Brain Plasticity Revolution
September 15th, 2023 at 2:00PM CST (Online)
The video for Talk 1 is now available! View it here.
Talk 2: Brain Plasticity-Informed Therapeutics: Recent Progress and Advances
November 3rd, 2023 at 2:00-4:00PM CST (In-person at the University of North Texas University Union Room 332 – Senate Chambers in Denton, TX and Online)
Dr. Michael Merzenich, PhD, is one of the scientists responsible for our current understanding of brain plasticity–the notion that the brain can change itself at any age. For nearly five decades, he and his colleagues have conducted seminal research defining the functional organization of the auditory and somatosensory nervous systems. Research on cortical plasticity conducted in his laboratory has greatly contributed to our current understanding of the phenomenology of brain plasticity across the human lifetime. Dr. Merzenich has received numerous prestigious awards and prizes for his research and holds nearly 100 patents for his work. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. In 2016, Dr. Merzenich was awarded one of the world’s top neuroscience prizes, the Kavli Prize, for his achievements in the field of brain plasticity.
Abstract: The Brain Plasticity Revolution- September 15th, 2023
Historically, the brain has been regarded as “hard wired.” That is, many neural processes were regarded as permanent and inflexible. Rewiring of the brain was limited to the early years of a person’s life or special circumstances. However, research in recent decades has shown the exact opposite. From the day you are born to the day you die, your brain is constantly changing through neurological remodeling processes. Studies have shown how to ‘harness the (neuroplasticity) genie’ in ways that reverse negative brain changes that are attributed to aging, stress, and trauma. Research has also investigated how the right training can sustain our organic brain health, improve our neuropsychological capabilities, extending our lives, and delay progressions to a host of neurological, psychiatric and social maladies. In addition, our growing understanding of the ‘neuroplasticity’ processes of the brain across the span of our lives has transformed our understanding of the origins of both positive and negative aspects of our emergent operational personhoods. In other words, the constant wiring and re-wiring in your brain creates the unique, one-of-a-kind you. This talk will introduce you to the transformative science of brain plasticity and consider important implications of this science for human health and welfare.
Abstract: Brain Plasticity-Informed Therapeutics: Recent Progress and Advances- November 3rd, 2023
The term neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt during an individual’s lifetime (neuro = neuron, plasticity = the malleability of the brain). Brain plasticity is responsible for both synaptic strengthening and synaptic weaking processes. That is, brain plasticity can help strengthen and improve your brain but can also cause weakening and decay. The good news is that researchers have demonstrated that almost all plasticity-induced changes are reversable and that neural responses can be modified and improved through neurobehavioral training. This talk will summarize recent progress in the development of brain plasticity-based therapeutics. We will examine brain plasticity-based strategies that have been designed to restore and strengthen brain health and functionality. In addition, we will look at how this emerging science and technology can be applied to four areas: a) brain-healthy aging; b) prevention of—and neurological recovery from—’criminal’ train-wrecks; c) prevention and treat of psychiatric illness; and d) incorporation of routine assessment of brain health in general medical practice.