Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Associate Professor of Education, Psychology & Neuroscience
Expert in the neuroscience of learning, creativity, culture, morality and social interaction.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD is an affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies the neural, psychophysiological and psychological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for learning, development and schools. She is an Associate Professor of Education at the Rossier School of Education, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Southern California. She was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at USC under the mentorship of Robert Rueda and Antonio Damasio.
Immordino-Yang is the 2014 recipient of the AERA Early Career Award. She has an NSF CAREER award and is the inaugural recipient of the Award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience. She and her co-authors received the 2010 Cozzarelli Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences for the most distinguished paper of the year in the behavioral and social sciences category, for the paper, “Neural correlates of admiration and compassion.” PNAS, 106(19), 8021-8026. In 2011 she was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science, and received a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles for commitment to translational research in neuroscience and education. In 2012 she received an honor coin from the U.S. ARMY for educational contributions toward supporting soldiers’ development of cultural literacy and compassion.
Immordino-Yang is the Associate Editor for North America for the award-winning journal Mind, Brain and Education. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Culture and Brain. She was elected to the governing board of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society, and serves on multiple school/university/educational foundation advisory boards, among them Long Trail School (in VT), the Ross School Innovation Lab: Science, Math and Engineering Academy (in NY), the USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity and the University of New Mexico Family Development Program. She serves as a scientific mentor/adviser to several Los Angeles schools/districts. In 2012 she launched an NSF-funded collaborative research project with ABC Unified School District, Cerritos College, Rowland Unified School District, and Huntington Park High School.
A former public junior high school teacher, Immordino-Yang earned her doctorate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2005, where she was the recipient of grants from the Spencer Foundation and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. She lectures nationally and abroad on the neural and psychosocial implications of brain and cognitive science research for curriculum and pedagogy. She is the content director for a new online, free course for teachers on learning and the brain, funded by the Annenberg Media Foundation: www.learner.org/courses/neuroscience
Honors and Awards:
- AERA Early Career Award, 2014
- AAAS Early Career Award for Engaging the Public with Science, 2014
- Named the 5th most influential junior scholar in education in 2013, RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence rankings
- Awarded an “Honor Coin” of the United States ARMY, 2012
- Received a "Commendation" from the County of Los Angeles, 2011
- Named a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science, 2011
- Inaugural recipient of the Transforming Education through Neuroscience Award, IMBES, 2008
- Awarded the PNAS Editorial Board's Cozzarelli Prize, 2010
NSF CAREER (1151920): A longitudinal, cross-cultural investigation of psychosocial and neurobiological aspects of emotion development in adolescence, 2012-2017
- Selected Articles in Human Development and Education
- Immordino-Yang, M.H., Christodoulou, J., Singh, V. (2012). Rest is not idleness: Implications of the brain’s default mode for human development and education. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 352-364.
- Immordino-Yang, M. H. (2010). Toward a microdevelopmental, interdisciplinary approach to social emotion. Emotion Review, 2(3), 217-220.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Sylvan, L. (2010). Admiration for virtue: Neuroscientific perspectives on a motivating emotion. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 35(2), 110-115.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2008). The smoke around mirror neurons: Goals as sociocultural and emotional organizers of perception and action in learning. Mind, Brain, and Education, 2(2), 67-73.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2007). A tale of two cases: Lessons for education from the study of two boys living with half their brains. Mind, Brain and Education, 1(2), 67-83.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Damasio, A.R. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain and Education, 1(1), 3-10.
- Selected Articles in Psychology and Social Neuroscience
- Immordino-Yang, M.H., *Yang, X. & Damasio, H. (2014) Correlations between social-emotional feelings and anterior insula activity are independent from visceral states but influenced by culture. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:728. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00728
- Saxbe, D., Yang, X., Borofsky, L., Immordino-Yang, M. H. (2013). The embodiment of emotion: Language use during the feeling of social emotions predicts cortical somatosensory activity. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8, 806-812 doi: 10.1093/scan/nss075. (First published online: 2012)
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Singh, V. (2013). Hippocampal contributions to the processing of social emotions. Human Brain Mapping, 34(4), 945-955. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21485 (First published online: 2011)
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2013). Studying the Effects of Culture by Integrating Neuroscientific with Ethnographic Approaches. Psychological Inquiry: An International Journal for the Advancement of Psychological Theory, 24(1), 42-46.
- Yang X-F, Bossmann J, Schiffhauer B, Jordan M and Immordino-Yang MH (2013) Intrinsic default mode network connectivity predicts spontaneous verbal descriptions of autobiographical memories during social processing Frontiers in Cognition. 3:592. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00592
- Immordino-Yang, M.H., McColl, A., Damasio, H., Damasio, A. (2009). Neural correlates of admiration and compassion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(19), 8021-8026.
- Selected Book chapters
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2014, in press) Embodied brains, social minds: Toward a cultural neuroscience of social emotion. In, Chiao, J., Li, S.-C., Seligman, R., Turner, R. (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cultural Neuroscience. Oxford: U.K.: Oxford University Press.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Christodoulou, J.C. (2014) Neuroscientific contributions to understanding and measuring emotions in educational contexts. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education. (pp. 607-624) New York, NY: Taylor and Francis/Routledge
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Singh, V. (2011). Perspectives from social and affective neuroscience on the design of digital learning technologies. In R. Calvo & S. D'Mello (Eds.), New Perspectives on Affect and Learning Technologies. (pp.233-241) Sydney: Springer
- Immordino-Yang, M. H. & Faeth, M. (2009). The role of emotion and skilled intuition in learning. (pp.66-81) In D. A. Sousa (Ed.), Mind, Brain, and Education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
- Immordino-Yang, M.H. & Fischer, K.W. (2010). Neuroscience bases of learning. In V. G. Aukrust (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd Edition. (pp.310-316) Oxford: Elsevier.
- Selected Laboratory Conference Papers/Posters
- Yang, X.-F. & Immordino-Yang, M. H. (November, 2013). Resting cardiac vagal tone is inversely related to intrinsic functional connectivity within the salience network. Poster presented at the Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.
- Yang, X.-F., Wong, S. W. H. & Immordino-Yang, M. H. (June, 2012). Heart rate deceleration predicts BOLD activity in default mode regions during emotion processing. Presented as a poster and invited talk at the 18th annual meeting of Human Brain Mapping, Beijing, China.
- Yang, X.-F., Pavarini, G., Schnall, S., Immordino-Yang, M. H. (May, 2012). Spontaneous gaze aversion during interview-induced moral elevation predicts subsequent default network activation. Presented at the 2012 Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.