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Media Advisory 10-025
Learning and the "Social Brain"

In an Oct. 13 Distinguished Lecture at NSF, an internationally recognized early language and brain development researcher asks how social learning in young children can trigger other types of learning

Photo of Patricia K. Kuhl.

Patricia Kuhl discusses new findings that provide the foundation for a new science of learning.
Credit and Larger Version

October 8, 2010

New findings suggest that at birth, young children are prepared to learn from so-called social agents--other members in a group or society. Findings also suggest the "social brain" enhances and constrains social learning over a person's lifetime. But, beyond learning social skills, can social interaction be used to acquire specific types of learning?

In this National Science Foundation (NSF) Distinguished Lecture, Patricia Kuhl, director of NSF's LIFE Science of Learning Center,  says yes.  Kuhl discusses how studies of language acquisition through live social interaction led to the theoretical formulation that social interaction acts as a "gate" that triggers other types of learning.

Ultimately, Kuhl will show how these new findings provide the foundation for a new science of learning that promises to transform the practice of education.

This Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.

What:NSF SBE Distinguished Lecture

Who:Patricia Kuhl, Director of NSF's LIFE Science of Learning Center and co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington

When:October 13, 2010 at 11 a.m. EDT

Where:Room 110, Stafford I
4121 Wilson Boulevard - Room 595
Arlington, Va. 22230

Metro:Orange Line to Ballston

Note: Visitors must RSVP to Bobbie Mixon in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs to register for a visitor pass for access to the Stafford I building. Contact Bobbie at bmixon@nsf.gov or (703) 292-8485.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, bmixon@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Joan Straumanis, NSF, (703) 292-4589, jstrauma@nsf.gov
Jennifer L. Thornhill, NSF, (703) 292-7273, jthornhi@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Image of Patricia Kuhl.
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Patricia Kuhl discusses how social settings change the foundations of learning.
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