Adele Diamond is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), and was recently listed asone of the 15 most influential neuroscientists. One of the pioneers in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Adele Diamond is at the forefront of research on the executive functions which depend onprefrontal cortex and interrelated brain regions. Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). These abilities are critical for creative and flexible problem-solving, meeting unanticipated challenges, self-control, reasoning, and the discipline to persevere) and success in all life’s aspects.
Dr. Diamond studies how executive functions are affected by biological factors (e.g., genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (e.g., impaired by stress or improved by interventions) especially in children. Her discoveries have improved treatment for medical disorders (PKU] and ADHD and impacted early education. Recently, Adele Diamond has turned her attention to the possible roles of traditional activities, such as music and dance, in improving executive functions, academic outcomes, and mental health. In dozens of recent talks (including a TEDx talk) and on the NPR show, On Being with Krista Tippett, Dr. Diamond points out there is a reason dance, play, storytelling, art, and music have been part of human life for tens of thousands of years and are found ubiquitously in every culture; that perhaps we have discarded the wisdoms of past generations too lightly.