2024 Annual Meeting: Halifax

Room 4260
6287 Alumni Crescent
Life Sciences Centre
Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
Dalhousie University, Halifax, N. S. 

Join the event virtually here:


Note: This program is subject to change.

Day 1: Wednesday, May 15, 2024

8:15 ADT



(Breakfast will be provided for all attendees)

9:00 ADT Welcome

9:10 ADT

From Accessing Digital Text to How Learners Interact with Text in Complex Digital Environments
Carrie Demmans Epp

9:40 ADT

‘Odd-One-Out’: Semantic Feature Representation through Babies’ Eyes
Xin Sun

10:10 ADT Coffee Break

10:30 PDT

Roots of literacy in a language revitalization context: Evidence from hul’q’umi’num’ child phonology
Henny Yeung 

11:00 ADT

Toward Inclusive and Personalized Learning with Large Language Models
Muhammad Abdul-Mageed (virtual)

11:30 ADT Lunch Break (provided)

13:00 ADT

Leveraging Educational Neuroscience Against the Global Learning Crisis: Using Mobile fNIRS Neuroimaging to Advance our Understanding of Development and Learning
Kaja Jasińska

Much of what is currently known about neurocognitive development and learning comes from studies almost exclusively done in high-income countries in Minority World contexts, limiting the generalizability of our current understanding of neurocognitive development and the ability to enact effective evidence-based policies for vulnerable learners growing up in environments with high poverty-related risk of illiteracy. Focusing on the context of rural Côte d’Ivoire, this talk will discuss how the latest tools of cognitive neuroscience—portable neuroimaging technologies—can be used to track neurocognitive development and learning in environments with high poverty-related risk of illiteracy, and how such insights can be leveraged to inform educational practices and social policies that strengthen children’s potential for success. The talk will present evidence on how the typical neurodevelopmental trajectory for literacy responds to low education quality in contexts of poverty and high rates of child labor, explore the potential of quality education and poverty reduction programs for improving learning at scale, and review best practices for mobile neuroimaging in low-resource settings.

13:45 ADT Group Discussions
(To discuss Kaja’s talk)

14:00 ADT

Breakout Groups

Time for project theme teams (Literacy, Oral Language, Technology & New Media, Language Background & Culture, Neuroimaging, Computational Modelling) to meet as a group and have an open discussion. No specific topic. Smaller groups or individuals who work with multiple themes can choose to join any group, or breakout into their own group.

14:30 ADT Coffee Break
14:50 ADT

Partner Updates
14:50 – 15:20: Mango Languages – Kaitlyn Tagarelli (virtual)
15:20 – 15:30: NIRx – Jeremy Burnison (virtual)
15:30 – 15:40: Atenxia – Jenny Thomson
15:40 – 15:50: ABC Life Literacy – Elizabeth Robinson

15:50 ADT

Theme Updates & Opportunities
Oral Language
Language Background & Culture

16:20 ADT

Closing Remarks

Day 2: Thursday, May 16, 2024

8:15 ADT



(Breakfast will be provided for all attendees)

9:00 ADT Classroom Based Literacy Screening in Early French Immersion: A Validation Study
Laura Coon
9:30 ADT

Automating Children’s Guided Reading Assessments with Automatic Speech Recognition
Brian Diep (virtual)

10:00 ADT Coffee Break

10:20 ADT

Using fNIRS to explore sociolinguistic development
Drew Weatherhead

10:50 ADT Benefit and lessons moving from fMRI to fNIRS to study reading development: The NCIL experience
Aaron Newman
11:20 ADT

[KEYNOTE] Perceptual learning in support of language: Insights from infants and cochlear implantees
Dr. Heather Bortfeld

Cochlear implants improve the ability of profoundly deaf children to understand speech by allowing a way for sound to be transmitted to the brain despite the lack of a working conduction system in the inner ear. Much of what we know about the course of auditory learning following cochlear implantation in young children is based on behavioral indicators that they are able to perceive sound. However, congenitally-deaf children have no concept of what sound is, and thus have highly variable behavioral responses when initially exposed to it. In recent work, my collaborators and I have been using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) as a tool to track changes in speech-evoked cortical activity following cochlear implantation in prelingually deafened infants and young children, as well as in post-lingually deafened adults. We are also testing how typically developing infants process degraded auditory speech given crossmodal support. Results from both lines of research have theoretical and practical implications for understanding speech processing in a multimodal world.

12:20 ADT Poster Session
(Click here to view the poster abstracts.)
12:50 ADT Lunch Break (provided)
14:00 ADT

Theme Updates & Opportunities
Computational Modelling
Technology & New Media

14:30 ADT

Research Planning, Beyond Year 7
Inga Slišković, Research & Partnership Facilitator, Dalhousie

15:15 ADT
Connecting the Dots / Research Planning
16:00 ADT
Closing Remarks / End