The Changing Brain Lab

The Changing Brain Lab studies how the brain changes as people grow up and learn new things. We are interested in basic mechanisms of brain plasticity, as well as in developing new strategies to support optimal development and learning.

New Study

We are interested in studying creativity and curiosity in early childhood. 

We are currently recruiting 4-7 year olds to participate in this two part study. 
In the first part of the study, your child will play some games with us while you fill out some questionnaires. The second part of this study is an imaging portion where your child would come back to our lab, watch movie clips in the scanner, and receive a picture of their brain! We use an MRI machine to take pictures which is a safe, radiation free, magnet. During the first session we teach your child about how the MRI machine works using a mock MRI machine. We demonstrate how the MRI machine works using a stuffed animal and then the child gets to practice.

If you have a child that is 4-7 and want to learn more about this study, click here.


Mackey AP, Park AT, Robinson ST, and Gabrieli, JDE. (2017). A Pilot Study of Classroom-Based Cognitive Skill Instruction: Effects on Cognition and Academic Performance. Mind, Brain, and Education.

Cooper EA and Mackey AP. Sensory and cognitive plasticity: implications for academic interventions.Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 10: 21-27.

Finn AS, Minas JE, Leonard JA, Mackey AP, Salvatore J, Goetz C, West MR, Gabrieli CFO and Gabrieli JDE. Functional brain organization of working memory in adolescents varies in relation to family income and academic achievement. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12450.

Mackey AP, Finn AS, Leonard JA, West MR, Gabrieli CFO, and Gabrieli JDE. (2015) Neuroanatomical correlates of the income achievement gap.Psychological Science, 26(6): 925–33.

Mackey AP, Miller Singley AT, Wendelken JC and Bunge SA. (2015) Characterizing behavioral and brain changes associated with practicing reasoning skills.PLOS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137627.

Leonard JA, Mackey AP, Finn AS, Gabrieli JDE. (2015) Differential effects of socioeconomic status on working and procedural memory systems. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience9(554).

Bolger DJ, Mackey AP, Wang M, and Grigorenko E. (2014). The Role and Sources of Individual Differences in Critical-Analytic Thinking: A Capsule Overview.Educational Psychology Review, 26: 495-518.

Guerra-Carrillo B, Mackey AP, and Bunge SA. (2014) Resting-state fMRI: A window into human brain plasticity. The Neuroscientist, Oct; 20(5):522-533

Mackey AP, Miller Singley AT, and Bunge SA (2013).Intensive reasoning training alters patterns of brain connectivity at rest. Journal of Neuroscience33(11): 4796-4803.

Mackey AP, Whitaker KJ, and Bunge SA (2012). Experience-dependent plasticity in white matter microstructure: Reasoning training alters frontoparietal connectivity. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 6(32).

Mackey AP, Raizada RDS, and Bunge SA. Environmental Influences on Prefrontal Development.(2012) In Principles of Frontal Lobe Function, 2nd Edition, ed. Donald T. Stuss and Robert T. Knight. Oxford University Press.

Mackey AP, Hill SS, Stone SI, and Bunge SA (2011). Differential effects of reasoning and speed training in children. Developmental Science,14(3): 582-590.

Bunge SA, Mackey AP, and Whitaker K. (2009) Neurodevelopmental changes in cognitive control and fluid reasoning over childhood. In The Cognitive Neurosciences, 4th Edition, ed. Michael Gazzaniga. The MIT Press.

Hagan CC, Hoeft F, Mackey A, Mobbs D, and Reiss AL (2008). Aberrant neural function during emotion attribution in female subjects with fragile X syndrome.Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry. 47(12): 1443-354.