In the news

LIFE Center media coverage, announcements, and events.

January, 2016

New research from LIFE co-Lead Dr. Andrew Meltzoff, LIFE researcher Dr. Dario Cvencek, and colleague Dr. Anthony Greenwald has been published in a January, 2016, issue of The Conversation,an independent, not-for-profit media outlet that uses content sourced from the academic and research community. The article is titled "When do children show evidence of self-esteem? Earlier than you might think". Children develop self-esteem much earlier than previously thought, according to new I-LABS research that suggests children gain either a positive or negative view of themselves before they begin formal schooling.

September, 2015

Professor Daniel Schwartz, a LIFE co-Lead as well as an expert in human cognition and educational technology, has been named the dean of Stanford University Graduate School of Education. A member of the Stanford faculty for 15 years, Schwartz oversees a laboratory that develops teaching and learning technologies. His extensive teaching background in diverse settings includes years spent teaching reading and math to adolescents in urban and rural communities. Among many honors, he was named Graduate School of Education Teacher of the Year for 2015. Schwartz assumed his post leading Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) starting on September 1, 2015. He succeeds Deborah Stipek, who has served as dean for the past two years after a previous tenure of a decade leading the school.

July 14, 2014

A new finding was published in the July 14, 2014, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech. This suggests that baby brains start laying down the groundwork of how to form words long before they actually begin to speak. The study has social implications, suggesting that the slow and exaggerated parentese speech - "Hiiiii! How are youuuuu?" - may actually prompt infants to try to synthesize utterances themselves and imitate what they heard, uttering something like "Ahhh bah bah baaah." The research was conducted in the I-LABS MEG Brain imaging facility.

March 5, 2014

In fall 2013, the LIFE Center, under the leadership of PI Patricia K. Kuhl, Ph.D., was awarded a Science of Learning Activities grant (SMA-1352991) to support the participation of U.S. researchers in an international gathering of scientists, educational practitioners, and policy makers. The U.S. researchers who participated, as keynote speakers and discussants, represented Science of Learning Centers funded by the National Science Foundation. The centers represented included LIFE (Kuhl and Meltzoff), SILC (Susan Levine and Ken Forbus), VL2 (Laura-Ann Petitto), TDLC (Andrea Chiba), and PSLC (Lauren Resnick). In collaboration with the OECD, UNESCO, East China Normal University, Shanghai Normal University, and University of Hong Kong, an ambitious agenda of four meetings coalesced into the International Convention on Science of Learning, which took place March 1-6, 2014, in Shanghai, China.

Over the six days in Shanghai, four events were held: (1) Science of Learning Symposium on March 1; (2) Education Roundtable at East China Normal University on March 2; (3) Dialogue on Science of Learning on March 3-4; and (4) International Forum on Science of Learning and Innovation in Education on March 5-6. Over 20 nations were represented, including Botswana, Brazil, Estonia, France, Gabonese Republic, Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, Russia, among others, and they represented a wide spectrum of education systems, sophistication in using evaluation and research in teaching and learning, and capacities of their governments, schools, universities, communities, teachers, and parents. From the beginning of the Convention, it was clear that all the participants were interested and engaged in the findings being presented by the researchers from the Science of Learning Centers. In fact, questions during each of the keynote talks made it evident that the participants were eager about how the implications of the science could be applied in their country's policies and systems. Convention website:

A photo gallery!

July 2, 2013

On July 2, 2013, LIFE PI Patricia Kuhl, and LIFE Co-PI Andrew Meltzoff, delivered a joint presentation at the Aspen Ideas Festival. At the annual gathering in Aspen, Colorado, Kuhl and Meltzoff gave a talk entitled, "The Big Bang in Learning: Brain Changes and Childhood Learning," to a packed auditorium of 400+ people.

June 14, 2013

On Friday, June 14, 2013, Patricia Kuhl joined Ira Flatow, host of National Public Radio's nationally-acclaimed Science Friday program, for a live broadcast from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. NPR's Science Friday is the trusted source for news about science, technology and other cool stuff. The two-hour broadcast covered current science topics with a panel of experts. Dr. Kuhl spoke with Ira Flatow during the program's first hour to discuss the complexities of the human brain. Christof Koch, Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, was also on the panel. Listen to Dr. Kuhl's interview with Ira Flatow:

February 15, 2013

LIFE Lead Daniel Schwartz (Stanford) and LIFE graduate (Stanford) Dylan Arena Read have published a new book on the theoretical and practical matters of assessing student learning in today's learning environments. In "Measuring What Matters Most," (A John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation report, published by MIT Press) Daniel Schwartz and Dylan Arena argue that choice should be the interpretive framework within which learning assessments are organized. Digital technologies, they suggest, make this possible; interactive assessments can evaluate students in a context of choosing whether, what, how, and when to learn. Access the published report here:

July 20, 2012

The New York Times in an article entitled "Digital Overload?" reports on Stanford University's "d.compress: Designing Calm" graduate course, which is part of a growing field that seek to alleviate the stresses of our technologically driven lives. The course is the product of Stanford's Calming Technology Lab, which is directed by LIFE Center graduate Neema Moraveji. Roy Pea, LIFE Co-PI and Co-Director, is also a course instructor. Read more:

More information:

July 2, 2012

The LIFE Center team at the UW College of Education and The Boeing Company won the Innovation Award for Measurement at the 13th annual Corporate University Xchange Awards for Excellence and Innovation. The Xchange awards honor the achievements of organizations that push the envelope in learning by creating programs and practices that improve both business and employee performance. The UW LIFE Center collaborates with Boeing's 787 Composites team on an innovative learning sciences module to help define a new "learning lab" at The Boeing Company. This research partnership focused on evaluating differences in social interactivity and learning outcomes between a lecture-based course and a challenge-based course. Read more:

May 31, 2012

Roy Pea, LIFE Co-PI and Co-Director, served as member of an expert panel that was asked to look at the future of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as "The Nation's Report Card." The panel, based on summit meetings and their own expertise, developed a high-level vision for the future of the NAEP program and made recommendations on the role of NAEP. A white paper summarizing the discussions has been drafted and is now available. Read more:

May 11, 2012

Roy Pea, LIFE Co-PI and Co-Director, participated in the annual CNSF exhibition in partnership with the American Psychological Association. His poster presentation is titled "Social Media, Media Multitasking and Youth Social and Emotional Well-Being." (Poster PDF available.) The May 15 exhibition featured science, mathematics and engineering research and education projects supported by the National Science Foundation. Researchers, educators, and students from all over the U.S., answered questions about their efforts to help meet the nation's research and education goals. This event showcased the crucial role the National Science Foundation plays in supporting basic scientific research and education -- underpinnings of innovation.
Conference Program:
Coalition for National Science Funding:

January 26, 2012

New research published by Roy Pea, LIFE Co-PI and Co-Director, and Cliff Nass, communications professor at Stanford, finds that media multitasking can hurt social and emotional development in preteen girls (or tweens). The study, published in Developmental Psychology, found that heavy digital multitasking and more time spent in front of screens correlated with poor emotional and social health--including low social confidence, not feeling normal, having more friends whom parents perceive as poor influences and even sleeping less. NY Times coverage:; CNN coverage:; Wall Street Journal coverage:

January 26, 2012

With support from the National Science Foundation, the LIFE Center organized and lead a delegation of scientists from NSF's Science of Learning Centers program to present their latest findings at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. At a conference entitled "Connecting How We Learn to Educational Practice and Policy: Research Evidence and Implications," the delegation of scientists shared research findings most relevant to education in an interactive forum with education policymakers from around the world. The scientists who shared their research are all associated with Science of Learning Centers around the U.S. They included: Patricia Kuhl (Conference organizer and leader) with LIFE, Andrew Meltzoff with LIFE, Roy Pea with LIFE, Laura Ann Petitto with VL2, Andrea Chiba with TDLC, Nora Newcombe with SILC, Susan Levine with SILC, David Uttal with SILC, and John Stamper with PSLC. For more details about the conference, including the agenda, abstracts, speaker bios:

October 10, 2011

In a New York Times article entitled, "Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language," research at I-LABS led by Patricia Kuhl, LIFE PI and Director, is highlighted. Dr. Kuhl talks about bilingual babies' openness to learning languages and their cognitive flexibility. Read more:

September 26-30, 2011

Patricia Kuhl, LIFE PI and Director, and Andrew Meltzoff, LIFE Co-PI and Co-Director, and Co-Directors of I-LABS, proudly participated in the 2011 Education Nation Summit, hosted by NBC in New York City. The summit took place during the week of September 26, 2011 and sought to 'engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America' by bringing parents, educators and students together with politicians and business leaders.

Read What People are Saying About Dr. Kuhl's and Dr. Meltzoff's talks:

- John Merrow declares the "Brain Power" session a hit.

- Harold Levy, former Chancellor of NYC Public Schools, weighs in on the science presented at Education Nation.

National Media

- NPR's John Hockenberry interviews Patricia Kuhl on "What We Can Learn from the Brains of Babies." Listen here: (11 min)

August 30, 2011

Researchers at the University of Washington--including Adrian Garcia-Sierra, LIFE postdoc, and Patricia Kuhl, LIFE Center PI and Director--are investigating the brain mechanisms that contribute to infants' prowess at learning languages, with the hope that the findings could boost bilingualism in adults, too. In a new study, the researchers report that the brains of babies raised in bilingual households show a longer period of being flexible to different languages and the relative amount of each language--English and Spanish--babies were exposed to affected their vocabulary as toddlers. Read more:

April 22, 2011

Na'ilah Suad Nasir, LIFE Center Co-Director and Co-PI, discusses her paper, coauthored with Amina Jones and Milbrey McLaughlin, "School Connectedness for Students in Low-Income Urban High Schools." Check out the video and more more:

April 11, 2011

In the Science section of the New York Times, Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford) and his colleague Jim Blascovich (UCSB) talk about 3D avatars and other research in their new book "Infinite Reality." Read more:

March 18, 2011

In Infinite Reality, Jim Blascovich (UCSB) and Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford), two pioneering experts in the field of virtual reality, reveal how the human brain behaves in virtual environments and examine where radical new developments in digital technology will lead us in five, fifty, and five hundred years. More info:

December 13, 2010

Patricia Kuhl, PI and Director of the LIFE Center, gave a TED talk on October 10, 2010, about I-LABS' studies on the first critical period of language development in infants. At the age of six months, babies are able to distinguish sounds from all languages, making them citizens of the world. But by the time children are a year old, they become culture-bound listeners, able to only hear the sounds from their native language. Check out the video:

November 18, 2010

Research by Andrew Metlzoff, LIFE Center Co-PI and Co-Director, et al. recently published in the journal Neural Networks has been featured on the National Science Foundation's Discoveries website. The researchers in the study tested the hypothesis that infants use information derived from an entity's interactions with other agents as evidence about whether that entity is a perceiver. The study demonstrates that social-communicative interaction plays a key role in mediating infants' gaze following of a robot, but the robot's humanoid appearance alone was not sufficient to cause gaze following. Read the NSF Discovery feature story:

October 29, 2010

Roy Pea, LIFE Center Co-PI and Co-Director, has been named to the Education Advisory Committee of a new ethics center at the University of Illinois. The center, in the College of Engineering at the Univ. of Illinois, funded by the National Science Foundation, will develop a national center and online portal for professional and research ethics in science, mathematics and engineering. For more information:

October 14, 2010

SRI International and EDC (Educational Development Center) were awarded the evaluation contract for the newly funded Ready-to-Learn cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and CPB/PBS. The total award to CPB/PBS will be for $90M over 5 years, and will focus on learning literacy and science across different media and context. SRI's work on joint media engagement will figure in the formative research in the early years that informs the design of interventions by producers for after-school settings where these will be implemented for early elementary school. Read the announcement:

October 13, 2010

In a National Science Foundation (NSF) Distinguished Lecture on October 13, 2010, Patricia Kuhl, PI and Director of the LIFE Center, will discusses how studies of language acquisition through live social interaction led to the theoretical formulation that social interaction acts as a "gate" that triggers other types of learning. Ultimately, Kuhl will show how these new findings provide the foundation for a new science of learning that promises to transform the practice of education. This Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.

For more:

September 20, 2010

Roy Pea, LIFE Co-Director and Co-PI, gave an invited keynote address at e-Learning Week 2010 in Seoul, South Korea, on September 17, 2010. His keynote was entitled "Transforming Learning Environments With Smart Designs," in which he characterized the recent "social turn" in the learning sciences field and consequent re-framing of the learning goals for the adaptive expertise needed for this era of ubiquitous computing.

For more:

September 2010

Nora Sabelli, LIFE Lead, will be awarded the Medal of Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Development in Argentina. She will be given the medal by the President of the Argentina in November 2010. The Argentine Ministry of Science award celebrates those who have contributed significantly to the science and technology development of the country. Nora's contributions are for her scientific and educational policy work, and there will be a symposium on comparative scientific and education development policies. More details coming soon.

July 10, 2010

In a New York Times article, entitled "Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot," Patricia Kuhl, LIFE Center PI and Director, and Andrew Meltzoff, LIFE Center Co-PI and Co-Director, provided their insights on the potential of robots, or "highly programmed machines," to teach humans.

Read the article:

April 27, 2010

In recognition of her distinguished achievements in original research, Patricia Kuhl, LIFE Center PI and Director, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences; election is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Read the press release:

March 2010

Dan Schwartz, LIFE Center Co-Director, received a $691,000 recovery act grant from the National Science Foundation to improve adolescents' abilities to make effective choices for how and what to learn when using virtual science worlds - online environments where they are represented by avatars and can interact with each other, with "agents" they can teach and with virtual objects.

Read more:

March 2010

Byron Reeves, LIFE Center Lead, has received a $5.1M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency ENERGY, to develop software and interactive programs to help people share ideas for reducing energy consumption by using games, social networking, school programs, and communication networks.

Read more:

February 23, 2010

Patricia Kuhl, LIFE Center PI and Director, joined other experts on the Charlie Rose Brain Series on PBS, in a discussion of the developing brain. Other discussants included Elizabeth Spelke of Harvard University, Stephen Warren of Emory University, and Huda Zoghbi of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; co-hosted by Nobel laureate Eric Kandel of Columbia University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Charlie Rose Brain Series Episode Five webpage and video stream:

January 2010

A collaborative partnership of the CHIMe Lab at Stanford University, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and the LIFE Center, represented by LIFE Center Co-PI Roy Pea, brought together academic and industry leaders with the goal of encouraging a new community that will engage in interdisciplinary knowledge sharing, agenda-setting, and collaborative research on media multitasking and children's learning and development. The LIFE Center is pleased to release the workshop report from the first research seminar on this vital area at the interface of scientific research, cultural practices and public policy. This first research seminar was held on Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at Stanford University.

Download the report:

July 17, 2009

A new article in Science Magazine (July 17, 2009), entitled "Foundations for a New Science of Learning," reports that a convergence of discoveries in psychology, neuroscience, and machine learning has resulted in principles of human learning that are leading to changes in educational theory and the design of learning environments.

Read the article:

July 3, 2009

Patricia Kuhl joined Will Wright (creator of Sim City) and John Palfrey (author of "Digital Natives") in a session at the Aspen Ideas Festival on July 3, 2009, that discussed the impact of technology on learners. The session was carried live by NPR affiliates on New York's WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.

Listen to the podcast:

March 2009

The National Research Council (NRC) has published a new book entitled Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places and Pursuits. The report is the culmination of a three-year consensus study on informal science learning co-chaired by LIFE lead Philip Bell. The book synthesizes research on science learning across three primary venues--everyday/family life, designed experiences in informal institutions, and out-of-school programs--as well as across two cross-cutting dimensions--cultural diversity and media. The evidence presented suggests that learners' informal experiences with science, from museum visits to television shows to observations in nature, contribute strongly scientific knowledge and engagement. More information on the report is available at:

Access the report: