The role of Cognitive Intervention in the shaping of wo/man
When: 10-13 March 2013.
Scientific advancements in conceptualization and technology make available new tools for professionals facing medical, psychological, educational, and societal problems facing human beings on a global scale. This conference brings together revolutionary developments in two disciplines--cognitive modifiability and the neurosciences. Neuroscience brings evidence that modifiability is possible, and cognitive modifiability shows how to make it happen! This meeting offers the opportunity for a worldwide gathering of scientists, practitioners, therapists, and educators who come from different professional perspectives but share common interests to explore and become familiar with the developments in these related fields. The common theme is modifiability. Revolutionary developments in the brain sciences support the theory and belief that basic human behaviors and functions can be modified.
From the perspective of both disciplines it is now clear that the systematic application of dynamic assessment and intervention has the potential to produce change. The science, and the growing awareness that it has generated, indicates that the three conventionally accepted resistances to change can be overcome-etiology, the genetic, hereditary, chromosomal causes of disability; critical periods, indicating that there are developmental deadlines after which change is not possible; and severity of the condition, indicating that extreme conditions cannot be improved.
However, we are at the frontier of this knowledge. There is much to be learned in order to understand the implications of the convergence of cognitive modifiability and the revolution in the brain sciences and bring them into wide acceptance and practice.
Through interactions among people from different cultures and countries, from a diverse range of professional orientations, the conference will present contributions from seminal contributors, and action reports from those exploring these new frontiers.
This is a critical period in the development of this dialogue. Jerusalem, as a center for technological and academic activity is appropriate site for the sharing of this knowledge and hope!
The Relationship between Cognitive Modifiability and Neuroscience
Cognitive modifiability is possible and practicable. Recent evidence now available through extensive and ongoing research demonstrates that the brain is modifiable, responsive to structural and functional change as a consequence of external stimulation, leading to neural plasticity. This conference brings together of the perspectives of two disciplines-that of cognitive education and intervention and the "new" neurosciences. A consideration of the relationship is now critically important because the modifiability of the brain has long been denied, by generations of scientists and educators, and is still not well acknowledged and reflected in practice. Major findings are coming to light daily as scientists develop new research designs, focus on diverse and expanding variables, and exploit the new and expanding non-invasive technologies that enable the study of the brain in situations of "real-time" exposure.
The theory of structural cognitive modifiability (SCM)developed by Professor Reuven Feuerstein more than six decades ago, and the applied programs developed from it (The Learning Propensity Assessment Device--LPAD; the Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment Program), serve as a paradigm framework for this conference. SCM offers a way of thinking about the needs, strategies, and demonstrable outcomes of activities directed toward generating cognitive modifiability. The modifiability, of both behavior and the internal neurophysiological structures, represents both the technology and potential for further explication and understanding.
Applications of this potential have implications for improving the life conditions of a diverse range of population needs and disabling conditions. As scientists and practitioners we know of the needs: genetic and chromosomal conditions (Down syndrome, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, to name but a few), traumatic brain injury, developmental delays, autism and the autistic spectrum, cultural and environmental deprivation, problems of aging. These conditions, and others like them, previously considered as fixed and immutable are amenable to modifiability, and today's technology and conceptualizations flowing from it enables the discovery of ways of bringing them to manifestation. There is a spectrum of knowledge, from conceptualization to application. Within this spectrum, there is much to learn and to bring into practice. The potential for modifiability is no longer confined to the "hard" and biologically based aspects of neural functioning. Philosophers and others who are concerned with spiritual and moral/ethical aspects of the human conditions are being joined by the scientists as variables of biological and experiential behavior are being explored. This conference offers the opportunity to consider the novel implications of this confluence, as it is implemented in psychotherapeutic applications, social policy formulations, novel research designs, and the like.
To further the potential for application, the convening hosts for this conference will offer two-day post conference seminars on applied programs for assessment (the Learning Propensity Assessment Device--LPAD) and cognitive intervention (the Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) Programs. See this website for further information regarding program content, registration procedures, and costs.
Together this conference will address crucial questions generated by the new potentials in science and practice. For the achievement of modifiability, both cognitive and neurogenetic: what kinds of stimulation, under what conditions, using what kinds of modalities of exposure, over what duration and intensity, at what stages of development, with what sustainability, with what inter-connectivity? These are the questions that must be asked, and we must bring our developing knowledge and experience to the answers. There are many implications in these questions and answers, for both implementation into practice and guiding further research developments. The revolution in the brain sciences, leading to a confirmation of the potential for significant modifiability, brings these issues into sharp relief.
As we come together to discuss both our shared knowledge and unique perspectives and experience, in the context of this international congress, we will all gain from the new and integrative knowledge that will become available.