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Training developing brains to regulate stress


Eric Pakulak, acting director of the Brain Development Lab at the University of Oregon, is using neuroscience research to develop more effective family-based training programs for young children and parents. Our work is "providing evidence at the level of brain mechanisms for the effects of poverty on the developing brain, but I think more importantly, what we can do about it and how we can use this evidence to design and implement effective programs for families," he says. To better understand how poverty and environmental stress impact school readiness in preschool-aged children, Pakulak uses a technique called electrophysiology to measure the ability of children's brains to focus on certain stimuli and ignore others. This skill, called sustained selective attention, is especially important for classroom environments.