USC Kortschak Center For Learning and Creativity



Associate Professor of Education, Psychology and NeuroScience, Rossier School of Education

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD is an affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies the neural, psychophysiological and psychological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for learning, development and schools. She is an Associate Professor of Education at the Rossier School of Education, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Southern California. She was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at USC under the mentorship of Robert Rueda and Antonio Damasio.

Immordino-Yang is the 2014 recipient of the AERA Early Career Award. She has an NSF CAREER award and is the inaugural recipient of the Award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience. She and her co-authors received the 2010 Cozzarelli Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences for the most distinguished paper of the year in the behavioral and social sciences category, for the paper, “Neural correlates of admiration and compassion.” PNAS, 106(19), 8021-8026. In 2011 she was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science, and received a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles for commitment to translational research in neuroscience and education. In 2012 she received an honor coin from the U.S. ARMY for educational contributions toward supporting soldiers’ development of cultural literacy and compassion.

Immordino-Yang is the Associate Editor for North America for the award-winning journal Mind, Brain and Education. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Culture and Brain. She was elected to the governing board of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society, and serves on multiple school/university/educational foundation advisory boards, among them Long Trail School (in VT), the Ross School Innovation Lab: Science, Math and Engineering Academy (in NY), the USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity and the University of New Mexico Family Development Program. She serves as a scientific mentor/adviser to several Los Angeles schools/districts. In 2012 she launched an NSF-funded collaborative research project with ABC Unified School District, Cerritos College, Rowland Unified School District, and Huntington Park High School.

A former public junior high school teacher, Immordino-Yang earned her doctorate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2005, where she was the recipient of grants from the Spencer Foundation and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. She lectures nationally and abroad on the neural and psychosocial implications of brain and cognitive science research for curriculum and pedagogy. She is the content director for a new online, free course for teachers on learning and the brain, funded by the Annenberg Media