Adele Diamond

Degrees / Credentials

Philosophy of Science, 1972, London School of Economics
B.A. 1975, Psychology and Sociology & Anthropology, Swarthmore College
PhD. 1983, Developmental Psychology, Harvard University
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1982-1985, Neuroanatomy, Yale University School of Medicine


Professor & Head, Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC

Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Fellow, Royal Society of Canada


Full Member

My research focuses on the cognitive control functions (including cognitive flexibility, working memory & inhibitory control [selective attention & self-control] — collectively called executive functions) dependent on prefrontal cortex

… including the neuroanatomical, genetic, & neurochemical mechanisms that make those functions possible

… and how these functions are modulated by environment (by detrimental factors such as poverty or stress and by facilitative factors such as education programs and interventions)

The roles of storytelling, dance, music, physical activity, and mindfulness in improving executive functions and academic & mental health outcomes

Differences in the effects of stress on executive functions by sex and genotype

Effective treatments for preventing, ameliorating, or curing executive-function disorders

Educational implications (e.g., why some children have trouble mastering a cognitive skill & how they can be helped to master it)

Unusual properties of dopamine system in prefrontal cortex

Development of executive functions during preschool and early childhood

Cognitive & perceptual-motor development, and their interrelations

Interrelations between executive functions and socio-emotional development

Contrary to traditional medical practice, I hypothesize that treating physical health, without also addressing social and emotional health is less efficient or effective.

And, contrary to mainstream education, our research is showing that focusing exclusively on training cognitive skills is less efficient, and ultimately less successful, than also addressing emotional, social, spiritual, and physical needs

Contact Info

Assistant Email
Lab Manager
Daphne Ling
Lab Email
Lab Phone
Mailing Address
University of British Columbia
Room G842, 2255 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1

Research Information

My current research is focused on:

Interventions to improve these skills in young children (such as early education programs, storytelling, and mindfulness)

The roles of dance, music, and physical activity in improving executive functions and academic & mental health outcomes

Power of the arts to aid older adults: possible benefits of beloved music with or without social interaction or beloved literature (poetry and/or stories) for older adults experiencing mild cognitive decline and mildly depressed affect.

How sex and genotype moderate effects of stress on executive functions

Differences in dosing needed to treat the cognitive versus the behavioural deficits in ADHD

Current social projects include:

Addressing the social determinants to health by helping to relieve stress in the lives of people living in the Downtown Eastside

Bringing video games to the bedside to cheer up hospitalized children

Supporting & helping parents to help their children succeed



  • executive function
  • developmental neuroscience
  • learning
  • behaviour
  • cognition