Twelfth International Summer School on Mind, Brain and Education

2017 September 1–7

Neuroscience of poverty

Director of the School: Antonio M. Battro
Director of the Course: Sebastián J. Lipina
Codirectors of the Course: Eric Pakulak, María Soledad Segretin
Management Assistance of the Course: Matías Lopez-Rosenfeld
Program Officer of the School: Lula Majdalani

Demir-Lira, Ece Ö
University of Chicago, USA

Dr. Demir-Lira is currently a research scientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. She was previously a postdoctoral research associate at Northwestern University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Koc University, Turkey and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, with a minor in Linguistics, from the University of Chicago. Her research addresses the long-standing question of why some children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, fall behind their peers in academic achievement. To address this question, she uses neuroimaging measures that reveal neurocognitive systems that support children’s academic performance and behavioral approaches that reveal children’s immediate home experiences. The long-term goal of her work is to use her findings to conduct translational research aimed at aligning interventions with children’s specific characteristics and needs. In January 2018, Dr. Demir-Lira will join the University of Iowa as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.


Academic resilience: Relations between early parental input and the behavioral and neurocognitive basis of children´s academic performance
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to fall behind their peers in their academic achievement. However, some of these children exhibit academic resilience; they follow positive academic trajectories and achieve success in school and beyond. I will present my recent work that examines the sources of academic resilience in children from diverse parental backgrounds. Using behavioral methods that characterize children’s home experiences, I will first ask how parental language input relates to children’s academic outcomes. Leveraging neuroimaging measures, specifically fMRI, I will then examine how parental language input and parental background characteristics relate to the neurocognitive basis of children’s academic performance. This work will present a model whereby parental background characteristics have specific, reciprocal, and non-uniform effects on the behavioral and neurocognitive basis of children’s academic outcomes.

Literature to share
• Demir, Ö.E., Prado, J., & Booth, J.R. (2015). Parental socioeconomic status and the neural basis of arithmethic: Differential relations to verbal and visuo-spatial representations. Develpomental Science, 18, 799-814, doi:10.1111/desc.12268.