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Stephen Wright
Stephen Wright
Name: Stephen P. Wright
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Topic: The cognitive protective effects of exercise
Mentors: Kathryn Sandberg, PhD (Department of Medicine, Georgetown University), Gillian Einstein, PhD (Department of Psychology, University of Toronto), Robert C. Speth, PhD (Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Nova Southeastern University) & R. Scott Turner, MD (Department of Neurology, Georgetown University)

Bio: Ever since I designed a quantitative social science study of vocabulary in advertising at age 14, I've been a scientist at heart. At Cornell University I worked with Urie Bronfenbrenner on research into joint activities with others who were significant in their lives, and did related independent research on people who were important models in students' lives. I have a longstanding interest in learning and cognition, and in the contexts which influence it. My PhD dissertation focused on instrument design and measuring the social dimensions of living-learning programs in academic settings. I spent several years exploring ways students learn a second language by reviewing methods in the literature and by developing curricula and testing that curricula through teaching students of all ages. I also explored how students learn math and science. In the last 5 years, I have been studying how students learn a complex physical activity through my part-time work as an independent professional dance instructor. These experiences have led me to return to academia as a postdoctoral fellow to train in the methodology that will enable me to investigate rigorously the mechanisms underlying the cognitive protective effects of aerobic exercise and to test my hypothesis that the complexity in dance (involving dimensions such as balance, coordination, skill acquisition and retrieval, responses to the actions of a partner, and some degree of unpredictability) adds to the benefits of physical exercise on cognition.