Dr. Michael Thomas
Dr. Michael Thomas is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London, UK, and Director of the University of London Centre for Educational Neuroscience. The goal of his research is to understand the nature and causes of cognitive variability – that is, why children become cleverer as they get older, why children of the same age can differ in their ability, and what causes the extremes of variation such as giftedness and developmental disabilities. In many cases, this leads to a consideration of the nature-nurture question – the respective contributions of genetics and the environment both to driving development and to producing differences in developmental trajectories between individuals. He adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, seeking to integrate data from behavioral studies, neuroscience methods such as brain imaging and computational modeling, and genetics.
His current work in mind brain and education includes understanding the role of inhibitory control in children's science and math learning, investigating the influence of cell phone use on teenage brain development, linking findings on sensitive periods in brain development to their educational implications, and building links between genetics and education.