Author Archives: sbunge

Materials for Learning and the Brain conference attendees

Dear conference attendees,

Thanks for your interest in our work. Here are the materials you asked for:

Study examining cognitive benefits of playing games
List of games used in the study 
Effects of law school test prep on brain structure
Effects of law school test prep on brain function


Silvia Bunge

Lab representation at Society for Neuroscience!

Over 30,000 neuroscientists are descending on New Orleans as we speak, for the annual Society for Neuroscience conference. Silvia wishes she could be among them, but is holding down the fort at UC Berkeley this year… We will have two talks at SfN this year:

Kirstie Whitaker will fly back from her new postdoc in the U.K. to speak on Sunday morning in this special session:

And Alison Miller Singley will speak on Monday afternoon about work that she carried out with Allyson Mackey:

Kirstie will show that development of a specific white matter tract in the brain – the left frontoparietal tract – is particularly important for reasoning development from age 6-19 (even after accounting for massive age-related changes in both white matter and reasoning ability over this age range). Alison will show that fMRI is more sensitive than *some* behavioral measures when it comes to measuring the benefits of cognitive training.

Finally, conference-goers will see the artwork of our dear friend Elizabeth Jameson on the cover of a complementary copy of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Your Brain Scan Doesn’t Lie About Your Age

Astonishing new study

Invited commentary from our lab


2012 lab photo

From left: Chloe Green, Connor Lemos, Lisa Johnson, Sally Bae, Alison Miller Singley, Silvia Bunge, Maia Barrow, Zdena Op de Macks, Forrest Riege, Belén Guerra-Carrillo, and Carter Wendelken

Introducing Drs. Whitaker & Mackey!

At UC Berkeley, every Ph.D. graduate receives a lollipop when their degree has been conferred. Allyson Mackey and Kirstie Whitaker paid a little visit to Graduate Division on August 10th and received their lollipops! They both started in the Neuroscience program 5 summers ago, both leave the lab at the end of the month, and are both heading to Cambridge for postdocs. Allyson will go to MIT (Cambridge, Mass.) to work with my grad advisor John Gabrieli, and Kirstie will go to the University of Cambridge to work with John Suckling. The lab is in denial at the moment.


Press release & media coverage

Reasoning training alters white matter microstructure

Open-access article:

Science Daily:

The Wall Street Journal (misguidedly titled “Why Lawyers Are So Smart”):

Etc. And, of course, since this study involved LSAT preparation, it’s been cited in law-related websites, including some fun articles…



Kirstie and Alison selected to give talks at Society for Neuroscience

Distinguished Scientist Lecture invitation

Silvia has been invited to give a Distinguished Scientist Lecture in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. This is not until September, so she may have enough time to grow a distinguished white beard beforehand.

Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court has just ruled that life-without-parole sentencing for juveniles is unconstitutional, relying in part on evidence regarding the protracted timecourse of brain maturation. Over the last few years, a number of researchers, including Professor Bunge, co-wrote amicus briefs and testified in state State senate hearings that led up to this decision. The researchers took care to provide a balanced overview of extant research on brain development.

Coverage in La Nación article