“Her talk at TEDxHendrixCollege captivated the audience by succinctly and simply presenting scientific evidence to bridge the gap between empirical research and our everyday lives, illuminating how the choices we make affect our brains and their development. Dr. Aamodt was well prepared to deliver a thought-provoking talk that appealed to both professionals in the field and laymen alike, and I would certainly welcome her back to speak again.”
– Colin Hoy, TEDx organizer
Selected recent and upcoming events:
Harvard School of Public Health – October 3, 2016
Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight Health – June 24 (panel discussion) and 25 (talk), 2016
Apple Inc. – March 12, 2015
Healthy Living Forum keynote, University of Nevada – September 18, 2014
Johns Hopkins University – February 27, 2014
Beyond Academia, UC Berkeley – February 20, 2014
Mind, Me and Self: Teaching Self-Awareness, Self-Control and Social Skills, San Francisco – February 15, 2014
Women President’s Organization Retreat – January 23. 2014
UnCollege Gap Year Program – January 15, 2014
Young Minds in Turmoil, Sacramento County Family Law Section – October 18, 2013
TEDGlobal, Edinburgh – June 11, 2013
Beyond Academia, UC Berkeley – March 22, 2013
Children’s Counsel section of the Sacramento County Bar Association – March 22, 2012
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD – February 9, 2012
Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA – September 27, 2011
Thiel Foundation 20Under20 Fellows Retreat – September 18, 2011
TEDxHendrixCollege – April 10, 2011
On the radio:
Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Radio New Zealand with Jim Mora
Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn
Weekend Edition with Susan Stamberg
If you’d like a presentation on any subject related to child development or the brain for your group, please contact me at sandra.aamodt[at]gmail[dot]com.
Tools for success: How to help your child build self-control and social skills
Your child’s intelligence is not the most important predictor of life success. Research shows that self-control ability in childhood is more strongly linked to later accomplishments in areas that parents care about, from education to work to friendships to marriage. Self-control is also a key ingredient of social skills and empathy. Brain imaging studies have revealed that the prefrontal cortex, which is central to these abilities, develops gradually from early childhood through the mid-twenties, and that its function is influenced by life experience. For this reason, the ability to manage your own behavior can be improved through a variety of age-appropriate strategies, which have one surprising thing in common: they’re fun for kids. This talk explains how self-control grows in the young brain and what you can do to encourage it from preschool through adulthood.
The wired brain: How modern life is changing your child’s mind
People are able to live all over the world because, throughout our long childhood, our brains learn about the local conditions and adjust their function accordingly. For this reason, substantial changes to our environment are likely to influence brain development. But modern technology is complicated, and so are its effects on the brain, which can be both positive and negative. They also vary with age, with children’s individual choices, and with what they’re neglecting to find time for it all. Learn about the surprising effects of outdoor play on nearsightedness, of video games on attention, and of television on language development and ADHD. You’ll also find out why modern life has made children more intelligent over the past few decades, and what you can do to encourage that trend.
The risks and rewards of the adolescent brain
Twenty-five years ago, only car insurance companies understood that the brain continues to mature through the mid-twenties, but neuroscientists have learned a great deal about the adolescent and young adult brain since then. Because the prefrontal cortex is late to mature, impulse control continues to improve until after college. In early adolescence, around puberty, kids also experience a sudden increase in what scientists call ‘reward sensitivity’ or ‘novelty seeking,’ which leads them to seek out uncertain situations to discover what might be gained from them. During this period, behavior is more strongly influenced by peers than it was in childhood or will be in adulthood. This talk also illustrates how teenagers’ choice of activities can shape their talents by examining the influence of video game playing on the voluntary control of attention.