Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Her specialty is ‘executive functions’ (e.g., self-control, problem-solving, mentally playing with ideas, thinking outside the box). She studies how executive functions are affected by biological factors (such as genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (for example, impaired by stress or improved by interventions). Her discoveries have improved medical treatment for two different disorders (PKU and ADHD) and impacted education worldwide, improving millions of children’s lives.
Prof. Diamond emphasizes that addressing social, emotional, and physical needs is central to improving executive functions. She offers a markedly different perspective from traditional medical practice in hypothesizing that treating physical health, without also addressing social and emotional health is less efficient or effective. And, Prof. Diamond offers a markedly different perspective from mainstream education in hypothesizing that focusing exclusively on training cognitive skills is less efficient, and ultimately less successful, than also addressing emotional, social, spiritual, and physical needs. She has championed the roles of music, dance, storytelling, and play in improving executive functions and academic and mental health outcomes.
Adele Diamond is the first in her family to graduate high school or go to college. She was educated at Swarthmore College (where she received her BA, Phi Beta Kappa, in Sociology-Anthropology and Psychology), Harvard University (where she received her PhD in Developmental Psychology), and Yale Medical School (where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience).