BJ Casey, PhD
CE Workshop #5: The Adolescent Brain: Arrested or Adaptive Development?
BJ Casey, PhD
Abstract & Learning Objectives: Adolescence is the transition from childhood to adulthood that typically begins with onset of puberty and ends with relative independence from the parent. The adolescent is probably stronger, of higher reasoning capacity, and more resistant to disease than ever before, yet mortality rates during this period increases by 200%. These untimely deaths are not due to disease but to preventable deaths associated with adolescents putting themselves in harm’s way. Evidence will be presented that suggests these health statistics are in part due to diminished self-control – the ability to inhibit inappropriate desires, emotions, and actions in favor of appropriate ones. Findings of adolescent-specific changes in self-control and underlying brain circuitry are considered in terms of how evolutionarily based biological constraints and experiences shape the brain to adapt to the unique intellectual, physical, sexual, and social challenges of adolescence.
Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:
Understand what situations may lead to a break down in self-control in adolescents
Describe how changes in brain circuitry help to explain these changes
Explain when the capacity for self-control reaches adult like ability
Speaker Biography: Dr. BJ Casey is a Professor of Psychology at Yale University and Adjunct Professor The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. She completed her doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of South Carolina and completed her postdoctoral training at the NIMH where she gained a reputation as a pioneer in pediatric brain imaging. For thirteen years she directed the Sackler Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College, an internationally recognized research and training institute that focuses on adolescent brain development and delineating treatments targeted to the biological state of the developing brain to maximize their effectiveness. She has received numerous awards, published over 165 articles in prestigious journals including Science, PNAS, Neuron, Nature Communications and Psych Science and her discoveries have been highlighted by Frontline, NPR, Newsweek, The NY Times, National Geographic and PBS. She takes training of the next generation of scientists as seriously as her own research and is delighted to extend these training efforts and to carry out her interdisciplinary program of research now at Yale University.