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  1. Welcome! Christopher Kaufman, Ph.D. (207) 839-5548 (office) (207-272-4672 (cell) e-mail: info@kaufmanpsychological.org web: kaufmanpsychological.org

  2. My Brain Made Me Do It!! The Educator’s Guide to Social Cognition and Emotional Regulation Secondary Version Christopher Kaufman, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

  3. In every person, even in such as appear most reckless, there is an inherent desire to attain balance. -- Jacob Wasserman German Author (1873-1934)

  4. Agenda 8:30 “Mean Max” & Descartes’ Error: Why All Social & Behavioral Problems Have a Biological Basis 9:00 Social cognition: What it is and why it matters 9:30 Emotion and its self-regulation 10:00 Break 10:15 Emotion and its self-regulation (Continued) 11:00 The biological bases of fear 11:45 Lunch 12:30 Strategies 1: Concrete implications for prevention and classroom management (emphasis on the teaching of social-emotional literacy) 2:00 Mini-break 2:20 Strategies 2: Skill-building and collaborative teacher-student problem-solving 3:00 Case study discussions and Q & A 3:30 Adjourn

  5. Bwa ha hahaha!! Part 1 Mean Max Oopsie , My bad . . And . . Descartes’ Error

  6. Meet ‘Mean Max’ His teacher’s admission: “I know it’s wrong and I’m kind of embarrassed I do this, but that’s what the other kids call him sometimes because he’s so aggressive and in your face - it’s hard not to view him as evil.”

  7. ‘Descartes’ Error’ (Damasio, 1996) • 17th Century French Philosopher • Advocated a dualist perspective of brain and soul • Viewed social/behavioral difficulties as problems with the soul (and, therefore, moral lapses)

  8. All social/behavioral problems are a product of both . . Nature (genetics) Nurture (learning) and/or

  9. Fact: All learning, including learned behavior, is a function of . . synaptogenesis

  10. Key Points: • Cartesian notions of mind-body dualism have had major influence on western culture and philosophy over the centuries, and continue to shape the ways in which we view elements of behavior. • Although, as Goldberg (2001) points out, few in our society question the neuro-biological basis of language, perception, and motor functioning, the larger culture continues to brand elements of behavioral and social functioning as attributes of the ‘mind’ that exist separate from neurological function (Goldberg: “As if they were attributes of our clothes and not our body”). • Descartes’ error remains rampant in the educational community, with behaviors such as frequent aggression and noncompliance commonly attributed to ‘failures of the soul’ (“He’s such a brat!”) rather than to the neurodevelopmental profiles that contribute to them.

  11. It’s time to put aside Descartes’ error Sorry – I’d take it back, but, well, I’m dead.

  12. Genetic Transfer (Nature) Cognition Behavior Environmental Factors (Nurture) Bottom line: All behavior problems have a neurological basis, just as all learning problems have a neurological basis!

  13. Your Turn . . . • Select a kid on your past and • concurrent caseload. • Consider the extent to which • his/her social-behavioral • challenges stemmed from: • Biological factors (cognitive processing challenges; i.e., impulsivity, anxiety, mood labiality, attention deficits, etc.) • Habits/tendencies shaped by environmental influences

  14. Social Cognition Part 2 What it is Why it matters

  15. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory We tend to get stuck here! SCT maintains that a person’s reality and social/behavioral presentation are formed through the interaction of environment and his/her cognitions.

  16. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) requires educators to . . • Understand that kids’ social/behavioral challenges flow from a mismatch between their cognitive capacities/individual constructions of reality and the environments that help shape the constructions. • Develop intervention packages that target both the cognitive/personal and environmental contributors!

  17. SLT also emphasizes the importance of observational learning; that is, learning by watching the behavior modeled by others. Mirror Neurons enable this!!

  18. Development of Social Cognitive Skill When kids are little, their behavior is highly regulated by adults, who teach directly (“Do this”) and indirectly (via modeling) As kids get older, they increasingly substitute self-redirected internal controls for adult-directed external controls. In order for this substitution of internal control for the external control to be successful, kids must possess developmentally appropriate levels of self-regulatory ability!

  19. Our Focus Today! To produce problems here!! Combines with challenges/limitations here . . Developmental weakness here . .

  20. Emotion Part 3 And . . Its Self-Regulation

  21. AKA . . ‘Affective Information Processing’

  22. The BRAIN: Its two hemispheres and four lobes (source: Jacob L. Driesen, Ph.D.)

  23. The Cortical Hemispheres and Emotion

  24. Left and Right Hemispheres and Emotion Hale & Fiorello, 2005 Right Left Associated more with positive affect Left frontal area associated with approach behavior (and positive affect) Associated more with negative affect Right frontal area linked with avoidant and withdrawn behavior (and negative affect) If the left hemisphere is underactive or dysfunctional, then negative affect and avoidance behaviors may occur. If the right hemisphere is underactive, then positive affect and approach behaviors may occur.

  25. Left hemisphere lesions more associated with crying, depression, and catestrophic reactions Right hemisphere lesions more associated with laughter, euphoria, or indifference Hale & Fiorello, 2005

  26. The brain bottom to top:Luria’s three functional blocks Block 3 (Frontal Lobe): Formation of intentions, and direction of cognition & motor activity Block 2 (Three posterior cortical lobes): Analyze, code, and store information Block 1 (Brainstem /reticular activating system): Regulates the energy level and tone of the cortex, providing it with a stable basis for the organization of its various processes.

  27. 27

  28. Frontal-reticular-posterior cortical attention loop (Goldberg, 2001, p. 172) Prefrontal Cortex Posterior Cortex Reticular Activating System Breakdowns anywhere along this loop can lead to attention deficits and emotional/behavioral challenges!

  29. Under- vs Over-Arousal of the Cortex:Implications for Social/Emotional Functioning Under-arousal: Associated with extroversion, & ADHD Conduct Disorder Over-Arousal: Associated with introversion and internalizing disorders (i.e., anxiety and depression) Hale & Fiorello, 2005

  30. Four Cortical Lobes of the Brain Frontal Lobe: Output center, director of cognition and motor activity Parietal Lobe: Center of somatosensory and spatial processing Occipital Lobe: Center of visual processing Temporal Lobe: Center of auditory and language processing

  31. Pre-Frontal Cortex: Primary Site of Attention and Executive Function Not fully developed until the age of 21 – 25! Vulnerable to injury! A deficiency of the neurotransmitter Dopamine in frontal cortical areas has been linked to the expression of ADHD/EFD symptoms.

  32. Pre-frontal Lobe: The portion of the brain that distinguishes us from this guy . . . You wanna piece of me?! 32

  33. Implications of frontal lobe injury . . . Phineas Gage - Harlow (1868) ”He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires; at times pertinaciously obstinate yet capricious and vacillating. His friends and acquaintances said he was no longer Gage.” I lost a piece of me . . 33

  34. Children born with (or who develop) problems in either the prefrontal cortex or its connections are often identified with . . . ADHD Oppositional Defiant Disorder (because of their low frustration tolerance and tendency to become easily irritated/annoyed) An array of executive functioning problems LD’s Mood Disorders 34

  35. Time for a break . . It’s #$%$# about time!

  36. Frontal Lobe Specifics (Adapted from Hale & Fiorello, 2004) Dorsolateral Pre-frontal Cortex Planning Strategizing Sustained Attention Problem-Solving Self-Monitoring ------------------------------- Orbital Prefrontal Impulse Control (behavioral inhibition) Emotional Modulation Motor Cortex

  37. Figure 1.1: The Two Strands of Executive Function The Executive Skills • The Metacognitive Strand • Goal-Setting • Planning/Strategizing • Sequencing • Organization of Materials • Time Management • Task Initiation • Executive/Goal-Directed Attention • Task Persistence • Working Memory • Set Shifting • The Social/Emotional • Regulation Strand • Response Inhibition • (AKA: Impulse Control) • Emotional Control • Adaptability

  38. Your Turn . . • With a partner (it’s a pair-share!) • Pick one of the metacognitive EF’s • Brainstorm its possible impact on social/behavioral functioning

  39. Anterior Cingulate Cortex Amen, 2000, as cited by Leonard-Zabel & Feifer, 2009 Heavily involved in emotional regulation. Serves as our cognitive shifter (associated with cognitive flexibility) Shifts attention between internal and external stimuli. An essential connection point between the prefrontal cortex and the emotion origin centers Helps kids shift among problem –solving options!!

  40. Consider the following scenario Elizabeth, a fourth grader, has been looking forward to her best friend Megan’s pool party for weeks. Upon arriving at the party, she learns that Megan’s cousin, Stacy, will also be attending. Elizabeth has a strong dislike for Stacy, finding her in past encounters to be a bossy know-it-all who hogs all of Megan’s attention. Although disappointed that her time at the party won’t be quite as she expected, Elizabeth quickly decides to spend more time with other friends as opposed to challenging Stacy for Megan’s attention. Her private thoughts about this plan include, “I’ll swim with Carol and Heidi the most, and will try and spend time with Megan when Stacy’s doing other stuff.”

  41. AKA: ‘Response Inhibition’ Picture a ‘rudderless ship’ ‘Prepotent’ responses are not inhibited ‘Low road’ problem-solving (Goleman, 2006) The cognitive workspace in which social situations are analyzed This is also the cognitive workspace in which rationale social problem solving occurs In other words, where the ‘thinking’ part of ‘stop and think’ occurs!! Impact of specific EF’s on behavior (Part I) Impulse Control Working Memory

  42. This EF skill determines a kids’ ability to act strategically in social contexts The planning part of social problem is impacted by this skill, as well as the ability to act on the plan (and change it on the fly as needed) Life is about change Kids with ‘balky cognitive shifters’ tend to struggle greatly with transitions And with changes in routine And with disappointments!! Impact of specific EF’s on behavior (Part II) Planning/Organization Adaptability

  43. To appreciate others’ perspectives we must: • Be able to stop (suspend) our own perspectives/points of view • ‘Read’ the social context (including others’ nonverbal behavior) • Process this information in working memory long/well enough to get the sense of what others may be thinking.

  44. Impulse Control Deficits &Social Functioning Lack of frontal lobe filtering leads to: • Impulsive calling out in class • Impulsively saying the wrong thing (a lot) • Troubles with turn-taking • Troubles with perspective taking • Motor and verbal ‘overflow’ • Lack of self-awareness and self-knowing All contribute to rejection by peers Any filtering going on here?

  45. And now, the primary source of emotional sturm and drang . . The amygdala Be afraid – be very afraid . .

  46. The amygdala: Our primary source of: FIGHT Flight &

  47. All roads lead to the amygdala Cortical Pathway (cognitive connections with the amygdala) Thalamic Pathway (lower order connections with the amygdala) Source: thebrain.mcgill.ca

  48. Cortical Pathway (high and slow) vs. the Thalamic Pathway (low and fast) Thalamic pathway: Shoot first and ask questions later. Cortical pathway: Stop and think before reacting. Source: thebrain.mcgill.ca

  49. Daniel Goleman: High and Low Road Emotional Processing System 2 Low Road Processing (automatic, prepotent, initiated by the amygdala) High Road Processing (rational, controlled, directed by the PFC) System 1

  50. The ‘balance of power’ between the Orbital PFC and Amygdala Orbital PFC Amygdala