Throughout life, our brains are constantly changing. Brain changes are brought about by biological maturation as well as by experience, and bring about the development of mental abilities, such as language, memory, foresightedness and self-regulation. The teenage years and older adulthood in particular are periods of significant structural and neurochemical changes in the brain, interacting with profound changes in social and other aspects of our environment.
The study of the maturing brain in the context of such constant change is a particularly challenging research agenda, but one that promises high returns in promoting long-term health and resilience in individuals and society. This promise is at the heart of our research in the CINN, where we combine the latest brain imaging technology with state-of-the-art data analytics, and insights from clinical practice and developmental theory to understand brain development in adolescence and older age.
We use these methods to ask: How can multilingualism benefit the developing brain and protect it against decline in older age? How can diet influence brain function in children or older people? How does the striking development of decision-making mechanisms in the teenage years interact with early life stress and risk of psychopathology? How can emotion support cognition and wellbeing in ageing; and how are cognitive and emotional changes interrelated in older age?