Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

Critical considerations about the use of poverty measures in the study of cognitive development

  • Date: 4/3/2017 at 1:00 PM 2:30 PM
  • Location: Biomedicinskt centrum, BMC Boströmrummet
  • Lecturer: Sebastián Lipina (PhD, Director, Unidad de Neurobiología Aplicada, Buenos Aires)
  • Organizer: Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics
  • Contact person: Kathinka Evers
  • Seminarium

Open higher seminar

On April 3, Sebastián J. Lipina​, Director of the Unit of Applied Neurobiology and Professor of Social Vulnerability and Cognitive Development at the National University of San Martin (UNSAM) in Buenos Aires will visit CRB to talk about citical considerations about the use of poverty measures in the study of cognitive development.

Developmental psychology and developmental cognitive neuroscience has generated evidence at different levels of analysis about the influences of poverty on cognitive development (i.e., molecular, neural activation, cognition, behaviour). In addition, different individual and environmental factors were identified as mediators of such influences. Such a complexity is also illustrated through the many poverty definitions and indicators generated by social, human and health sciences during the last decades.

However, to establish the causal relationships between the different factors of poverty and cognitive outcomes is still an issue under construction. Most studies of this area apply classic unidimensional poverty indicators such as income and maternal education. Nonetheless, this approach does not take into adequate consideration the variability of cognitive outcomes depending on the type of poverty measures, and the dynamic nature of changes during development. This creates a virtual underestimation of the complexity imposed by the involved mediating mechanisms. The scientific and policy implications of this underestimation include the risk of not adequately addressing children rights and developmental opportunities. I will propose to explore such scenario, which is necessary for the reconsideration of the criteria used to analyse the influences of poverty on child development in general and cognitive development in particular.

When: Monday April 3, 13:00-14:30
Where: Biomedicinskt centrum, BMC Boströmrummet     
Contact: kathinka.evers@crb.uu.se                

About Sebastián J. Lipina

Sebastián J. Lipina, PhD (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Director of the Unit of Applied Neurobiology (UNA, CEMIC-CONICET), Professor of Social Vulnerability and Cognitive Development at the National University of San Martin (UNSAM), and Researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET). Sebastian is a developmental psychologist working in the field of environmental impacts on cognitive and emotional development at different levels of analysis. The current research projects under his direction focuses on the analysis of poverty influences on cognitive development and the design of interventions aimed at optimizing children's cognitive performance through exercising and training in laboratory, school and community settings. As part of his work in the area of poverty and child development, he works as consultant for PAHO, UNDP, UNICEF and several Ministries of Health, Education and Social Development in different Latin American countries. He is member of his institutional IRB (CEMIC), the Committee of Interdisciplinary Studies of the SRCD and Volunteer Researcher of the American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS).