Adolescent Brain Café at the Middlesex Lounge

  • May 21, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Hey's our favorite nerd topic again - neuroscience!  Join us at the Middlesex Lounge as and NOVA/PBS present the Adolescent Brain Café. Alea Skwara from the Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab at Harvard University will be speaking about her work in understanding the social and neural influences on the human adolescent experience.

Science Cafes are sponsored by the folks from the NOVA television series on PBS, and feature a scientist speaking and answering questions in an informal format at a local pub over food and refreshments.

As always, getting there early is recommended - your organizers will probably get there around 6:30.

The Middlesex Lounge is located on Mass Ave, a few blocks from the Central Square Red Line stop in Cambridge. For folks who are driving, parking is available at the following locations:

  • University Park @ MIT garage - 55 Franklin Street ($10 after 5:00 PM)
  • Green Street Garage - 260 Green Street ($6 after 6:00 PM, up to 4 hours)
  • Cambridge municipal lots along Bishop Allen Drive (parallel to Mass Ave in Central Square)
  • Metered street parking along Mass Ave and nearby streets

Municipal and metered street parking is free after 6:00 (if you can find any, and watch out for the permit parking only signs on most side streets in Cambridge). Parking rates are from - YMMV.

Hope to see you there :)



Ever wonder why the world seems so different from when you were a teenager? Join us on May 21st for an evening with Alea Skwara from the Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab at Harvard University.

An artist turned scientist, Alea earned her BA in Theatre from Davidson College in 2009. Since then, she has jumped into the world of psychology and neuroscience, trying on a new lens of understanding the human experience. She is currently the lab manager of the Affective Neuroscience and Development La
b at Harvard University, where she works with Professor Leah Somerville to better understand the complexities of adolescence, from the social to the neural. In her work, Alea maintains a holistic perspective, considering the diverse factors that contribute to individual differences in emotion and cognition, and looking at the brain as a complex system of dynamic networks. A mountain girl at heart, Alea spends her free time meditating, hiking, and singing folk songs with her guitar.

Middlesex Lounge

Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory at Harvard

Sciencecafes.Org Facebook Event Page

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  • Scott A.

    Hi Guys,

    Just wanted to thank everyone for coming out yesterday. It was tons of fun, and I hope to see you all next month!! Also, a question for the future: What kinds of speakers are you guys interested in hearing from?

    May 22, 2013

    • Julie B.

      There are three I would be interested in: First, is there someone who would be able to speak about the science of fermentation and how this process has/hasn't changed in the brewing of beer from the middle ages to today? Second, Continuing on the topic of neuroscience and the brain: Someone who would be able to discuss how the brain's neuroscience constantly changes throughout one's life. Third, how the medical field uncovered/discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and how the brains of those individuals who suffer from this differ from those who don't.

      1 · May 23, 2013

    • Selma Marian L.

      Julie, I've often thought, thank GOD yeast isn't mutating. Otherwise, a lot of women out there would be in a lot of trouble. ;)

      May 23, 2013

  • M L


    May 22, 2013

  • Nash


    May 22, 2013

  • Eric

    I second Julie's comments. IT was a great event and I really liked the space. Thanks for organizing D&J!

    May 22, 2013

  • Julie B.

    This was wonderful. Great topic, great presenter, great audience. Many thanks to the organizers for coordinating this!!

    1 · May 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So glad I was able to attend!

    1 · May 21, 2013

  • Jennifer

    Had really hoped to come, but need to cancel.

    May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry for the last minute decline, but something came up :(

    May 21, 2013

  • Jon

    Sorry, I've had to drop out! Hope to be at the next one!

    May 21, 2013

  • Selma Marian L.

    I will be unable to attend but I have a question. We can't study the brains of teenagers hundreds of years ago who married young or lived on a farm where it was their responsibility to cut X cords of wood or sow the crops before winter, and if they didn't follow through, the family freezed to death or starved to death. We live in an environment where the action/consequence ratio is, "If I don't go to school, I'll get suspended/I feel like a chocolate bar/my GF texted me!/Oh man! Johnny just beat my score on the 'Lone Killer' game!" We know that trauma and touch deprivation can interrupt brain development, and that there is a short window of opportunity for language in which, if a child is locked up in a basement, that opportunity is lost. How do we know our contemporary environment isn't producing similar results, and what responsibility does the scientific community have to the public to parse the interpretation of this science conservatively rather than as a behavioral excuse?

    2 · May 19, 2013

    • Jennifer F.

      @selma: it is hard to be "aware" of something that is purely subconscious

      May 21, 2013

    • Selma Marian L.

      I know how I feel when I'm meditating, verses doing an intellectual activity. I know how I feel when I'm dreaming, and how that differs from executive functioning. And I know that watching TV and being on the internet feels the same. You can FEEL the difference physically if you're paying attention. Television is exactly the kind of stimuli I was referring to when relaying all those examples, but now there's no escape from it. There's the internet, there's Facebook, and there's on demand movies on your smartphone. A kid can be mesmerized outside of class all day long. I disagree that you can't step away from the experience and observe it. Meditation practice has taught me how to do that. So has body work.

      May 21, 2013

  • M L

    EXCELLENT COMMENTS: You are a genuinely critical thinker, and I am so sorry you will not be there; but I may not be either...nice to hear some "out of the box" intelligent questions reflecting a larger systemic perspective than I am used to hearing from people presenting their narrow pieces of the pie while ignorant of the large community of work, research, and learning that has been going on over the past many years on this and other related topics. M L

    1 · May 19, 2013

  • Shava N.

    Why don't we give teens stuff to read on adolescent psych? We give them reading on physical puberty... I gave my son reading on adolescent psych at about 12 and I swear it saved our relationship (he's 20 now). He went totally morose[masked] and other than one bad GF breakup, we've done relatively ok...

    1 · May 18, 2013

  • Selma Marian L.

    It is unlikely my guest will attend, but I will ask her and get back to you.

    May 16, 2013

  • Edward

    Is it me, or does "Adolescent Brain Café" sound like the title of a zombie movie?

    3 · May 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    might have to change this RSVP if I end up having to work, but for now I will be there!

    May 15, 2013

  • Heather

    Always wanted to go to one of these, thanks for finding it and commiting D&J!

    1 · May 15, 2013

  • John

    Young folks are certainly welcome as far as the group is concerned, but it is a bar so you might want to check with the management to see if they're ok with it.

    May 15, 2013

  • Maia

    Hopefully with my teen daughter and her friends . Very interesting!

    May 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Am bringing an actual adolescent with me. Hunker down!

    1 · May 15, 2013

  • Ann N.

    Unfortunately, I'll have a conflict that night. Enjoy!

    May 14, 2013

  • Jennifer F.

    Might bring a friend

    May 14, 2013

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