Visit » Calendar » Executive Function: The Essentials of Early Childhood Brain Development

Dr. Margaret Sheridan
Thursday, May 7, 2015 -
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Speaker: Dr. Margaret Sheridan, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Research Associate at Boston Children's Hospital
First Church Unitarian
Littleton, MA
Free; $5 suggested donation at the door

How does executive function develop in early childhood and what do we know about the environments which shape it? Executive Function refers to a set of cognitive skills which are integral to our ability to focus on goals, stop ourselves from doing things we don't want to do, and can impact future success. Dr. Margaret Sheridan will speak about the brain processes which support the typical development of these skills. In addition, she will report on some recent research which investigates the impact of stressful environments on children’s brain development.

Margaret Sheridan, Ph.D. received her degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. After completing her clinical internship at NYU Child Study Center/Bellevue Hospital, she spent three years as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard School of Public Health and is now an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School at Boston Children’s Hospital. The goal of her research is to better understand the neural underpinnings of the development of cognitive control across childhood and to understand how and why disruption in this process results in psychopathology. In collaboration with Sheridan Lab, she approaches this problem in two ways; first, by studying atypical development, in particular children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Second, by studying the effect of experience on brain development, specifically, the effect of adversity on prefrontal cortex function in childhood. While the Sheridan Lab is focused on using neuroscience to solve real world problems such as better diagnosing ADHD or creating safer, healthier environments for children growing up in poverty, they pursue these goals using the tools of cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Sheridan‘s work is characterized by rigorous and novel task design and cutting edge analytic approaches to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG).