Public Release: 

UT Arlington to host international gathering of mind, brain and education experts

University of Texas at Arlington

Nearly 250 experts in the field of mind, brain and education will attend the fourth biennial International Mind, Brain, Education and Society conference being organized by University of Texas at Arlington professors for Nov. 6-8 in Fort Worth.

The event, known as IMBES 2014, is the foremost conference for educators, policy makers and researchers developing deeper understandings of the relationships between cognitive science, neuroscience, and educational practice.

Marc Schwartz, professor and director of the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education in the UT Arlington College of Education, and president of IMBES, said the conference offers a framework for developing collaboration over time between researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the field of mind, brain and education.

"MBE is a relatively new field and growing, and one of the conference objectives is to better define the work of the field to support collaborations," Schwartz said. "The society represents a number of different voices, so for collaborations to be successful IMBES needs to support as well as provide a sharper focus on the processes and challenges in improving education."

Evie Malaia, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, received a National Science Foundation grant for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics portion of the conference. The NSF funds will help cover travel expenses for the speakers who will discuss topics such as mathematical learning, spatial cognition, and working memory allocation in problem solving.

The Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education will also present 7 student awards from the National Science Foundation for best poster submissions to the conference, as well as the winner of the 2014 UT Arlington College of Education and IMBES President Outstanding Poster Award.

"We really want to encourage student participation as an important focus of this conference is the dialogue between researchers and teachers, which the students hope to one day be," said Malaia, who will lead a session on shared and unique resources of linguistic, spatial and numeric processing, and strategies of optimizing memory use for individual learner ability and task demands.

Steven Palko, an adjunct lecturer in the College of Education and alumnus whose 2005 cash gift made the establishment of the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education possible, will serve as a facilitator on a conference panel examining challenges and opportunities in educational intervention and research.

Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the College of Education, will speak alongside state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, and Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos on a panel focusing on how policy makers can apply their leadership roles to bring research translations to school practices to improve learning.

Other UT Arlington presenters include Jodi Tommerdahl, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, Heekyeong Park, assistant professor of science, and Kenneth Williford, associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy.

Conference highlights and speakers from across the U.S., Europe and Asia include:

  • Silvia Bunge, University of California-Berkeley professor of psychology. Bunge will discuss "Analogical reasoning: Development, neural basis, and relevance for education."

  • Jiaxian Zhou, associate professor of psychology and cognitive science at East China Normal University, will discuss Chinese learning and creative thinking.

  • Daphne Bavelier, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, will examine the advent of new media, such as video games, that is creating many new opportunities for learning.

  • A session on MBE graduate programs that defines the likely career paths of trainees of such programs.

A full schedule of sessions, events and conference registration information is online at The 2014 IMBES Conference will be held at the The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth.

"We are excited to facilitate what is certain to be a robust cross-cultural collaboration in education, biology, the cognitive and developmental sciences," Gerlach said. "In our Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education, and entire College of Education, we share a goal of improving the lives and educational experiences of individuals in the classroom and workplace. This can be accomplished with educational research and important interchanges like the IMBES conference."


About the College of Education

The College of Education is fully accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and in 2006 became the first College of Education within the UT System to receive accreditation through the prestigious National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The college currently offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Visit to learn more.

About UT Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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