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Session Overview
Neurocognitive Symposium
Tuesday, 22/Nov/2022:
11:00am - 12:30pm

"How brain imaging contributes to improving the understanding of and supporting healthy development"

Location: Auditorium Olivier

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How brain imaging contributes to improving the understanding of and supporting healthy development

Paul Matusz1,2, Mirella Manfredi3, Nora Raschle3,4, Vanessa Siffredi5,6, Marie Schaer6

1University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO) Valais; 2The Sense – Innovation & Research Center, Lausanne & Sion; 3University of Zurich; 4Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development; 5École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); 6University of Geneva

Neuroimaging has revealed how the brain supports mental processes and behavior. More recently, it has been increasingly used to clarify how brain development shapes children’s cognitive and socioemotional functions. Neuroimaging methods offer objective, quantifiable and robust measures of mental functions that complement more traditional measures. This symposium showcases exciting Swiss research in developmental neuroscience. Mirella discusses how during audio-visual word-picture conflict, electroencephalography (EEG) reveals that younger children are more sensitive to conflicts involving onomatopoeias and older children - common nouns, highlighting how developing linguistic abilities affect meaning processing. Nora presents how structural and functional magnetic resonance combined with clinical and cognitive assessments help identify the emotion regulatory brain network, how it is shaped by early experiences (e.g., adversity) and how this network impacts how children handle life challenges. Vanessa shows how a randomized controlled trial using neuropsychological tests, computerized tasks and self-reports reveals the efficacy of mindfulness-based intervention in improving executive, behavioral and socioemotional abilities in very preterm adolescents, highlighting the value of mindfulness in reducing the negative consequences of prematurity. Marie reports on how, in a longitudinal study, eye-tracking reveals increasingly deviant visual exploration of social scenes in preschoolers with autism, and how interventions can restore those gaze patterns. Paul discusses how using ophthalmological tests, computerized tests and machine learning of EEG can reveal the downstream consequences of abnormal visual experience (i.e., amblyopia) on sensory processes and cognitive processes like selective attention. Together, the talks underline the close brain–behavior co-development and the importance of those interrelationships for practice.

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