The human brain is the most complex system in nature. It integrates a series of advanced cognitive functions and gives humans unique intelligence, of which learning ability and plasticity form the core. The pattern of brain and intellectual development under the combined influences of environment and genetics has become one of the most strategic, forward-looking, comprehensive and driving issues in scientific research today. Such research is directly related to whether a country can effectively improve the quality of education, promote national development of intelligence and mental health, and facilitate the development of human resources, thereby enhancing international competitiveness.
In order to seize this scientific frontier and reveal the patterns of brain development and learning in the Chinese population, the Ministry of Science and Technology established the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning (hereafter referred to as the Laboratory) at Beijing Normal University in 2005. Aligning with the country's major needs in education and health development, the Laboratory focuses on the investigation of the patterns of human brain development and the mechanisms of cognitive development and learning. Specifically, the Laboratory’s work involves both micro and mesoscopic studies based on animal models, as well as human-based neurological and cognitive-behavioural studies. The Laboratory also focuses on basic theoretical research on brain development and its relationship with individual general intelligence, various learning abilities as well as psychological and behavioural development. Through these efforts, the laboratory aims to apply research findings to the promotion of cognitive and learning ability and mental health for different age groups and people with special needs.
With support from the strengths in psychology, systems science, education, and other liberal arts disciplines of Beijing Normal University, the Laboratory has made considerable scientific contributions to related fields and become the most advanced institute in the field of cognitive neuroscience in China. The Laboratory has assembled a team of outstanding scientists from various fields and built a world-class research platform for studying brain and intelligence development and learning. With its innovation, international competitiveness, and influence at home and abroad, the Laboratory has become an important scientific and technological institute as well as talent training base in the field of brain and learning research in China.