We all want our children and young people to grow up healthy and strong. Parents are asking a lot of questions about behaviours they see: bullying; lying; forgetfulness; non-suicidal self-injury; risk-taking.

Our researchers explore these and other behaviours. They specialize in helping us to understand how behaviours are related to our brains. Brock’s Centre for Lifespan Development Research brings all these investigations under one roof.

One project in particular, called Brock Healthy Youth Program, or “B-HYP,” is studying the link between risks that adolescents take with their health (substance abuse, unsafe sexual activity, poor nutrition) and brain development over a five-year period.

Almost a dozen local, national and international partners – UNICEF, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Niagara Region Public Health – are involved. A Niagara youth advisory committee is advising the researchers.

We also shed light on special challenges some of our children face. Our autism research and outreach activities like the Special Needs Activity Program (SNAP) provide parents and their children much-needed support.

Another area of brain development research is in how our brains processes language. Our researchers have international partnerships and projects examining how human brains comprehend and generate words and sentences.

Brock University is known for our facial recognition research. State-of-the-art equipment helps the research team to study how people are able to recognize and recall own-race, other-race, elderly and children’s faces.

This research has tremendous implications for border officials, police, those who work with the elderly and others who have to identify faces, particularly in security situations.