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Adam Gazzaley on Video Games and Neuroscience

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Adam Gazzaley

A fundamental challenge for modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function and cognition in both healthy and impaired individuals. Neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, will describe an approach developed in his lab that uses custom-designed video games to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement. He will also share the next stage of his research program, which uses video games integrated with technological innovations in software (e.g., brain computer interface algorithms, GPU computing) and hardware (e.g., virtual reality headsets, motion capture, mobile EEG, transcranial electrical brain stimulation) to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions, as well as better target our educational efforts.

Biography

Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an MD and a PhD in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is now professor in neurology, physiology and psychiatry at the UC San Francisco, the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and director of the Gazzaley Lab, a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention, and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS & TES). A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we can enhance our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and TES. Dr. Gazzaley has authored over 100 scientific articles, delivered over 400 invited presentations around the world, and his research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN, and NBC. Recently, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-sponsored special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley.” Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.

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