Personalities of a baby

In memory of the former USF Provost, Thomas Tighe, the Department of Psychology will be hosting a lecture today with speaker Charles Nelson called “The Development of Memory: Insights from Cognitive Neuroscience.

Nelson is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota. He is also an internationally known expert on cognitive neuroscience and has received the title of McKnight University Professor.

Like Nelson, Tighe studied the cognitive neuroscience of infants and associated behavior.

Judith Bryant, a professor and an associate chairwoman in the USF Department of Psychology, said the department felt that Nelson and his studies are an appropriate way to remember Tighe, who died in January of a heart attack.

The topic of Nelson’s lecture will be the development of infants’ brains and cognitive processes as well as the behavior associated with this development, Bryant said.

The lecture will explain how the infants’ memory and behavior develop under particular circumstances, the ability to recognize faces and the development of infants’ personalities. Bryant said the topic of lecture is also two-fold because Nelson will discuss how the development of infants’ brains affects and brings about certain behaviors as well as how these certain behaviors help to further develop the infants’ brains.

Nelson’s current research deals with several aspects of the development of infants’ cognitive growth. One of his ongoing projects in deals with comparing children raised in a typical environment with those raised in Romanian orphanages, where a significant amount of social deprivation occurs for children who are removed from the orphanage and then raised in a normal foster care environment, Bryant said.

“He is concerned with conditions that will facilitate healthy development as well as those circumstances that would lead to less healthy neural development and cognitive behavior,” Bryant said. “It is basically about how stimulation, or the lack of stimulation, has effects on infants’ personality, intellect and memory.”

Bryant said the lecture would be beneficial to all students and staff at USF.

“I hope it will give people in the audience a better sense of all the important and exciting things happening in infants’ minds. There are really critical and interesting physical developments as well as developments in skills like memory,” Bryant said.

The lecture will be held today at 2 in the Psychology Auditorium, PCD 1147.