Megumi Takada is a doctoral student at Stanford Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on children's literacy experiences, primarily in the early elementary school years. Megumi is interested in studying literacy experiences in local contexts, considering the ways that peers, teachers, and literacy activities shape children's identities as readers and writers. Much of her thinking is deeply influenced by her teaching experience at public elementary schools in South Korea and Seattle, as well as her childhood of growing up bilingual in California and Japan. Building off of her past research in the fields of education, psychology and neuroscience, she is currently integrating the fields of linguistics and anthropology into her work, in hopes of doing interdisciplinary research that considers both the cognitive and sociocultural aspects of literacy. She is a recipient of the Fulbright teaching fellowship and holds a B.A. in neuroscience and elementary teaching credentials from Wellesley College.

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to South Korea, U.S. Student Fulbright Program (2017-2018)

Education & Certifications

  • B.A., Wellesley College, Neuroscience (2017)

All Publications

  • Replication and Extension of Family-Based Training Program to Improve Cognitive Abilities in Young Children JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS Romeo, R. R., Leonard, J. A., Scherer, E., Robinson, S., Takada, M., Mackey, A. P., West, M. R., Gabrieli, J. E. 2021; 14 (4): 792-811
  • Neuroplasticity associated with changes in conversational turn-taking following a family-based intervention. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Romeo, R. R., Leonard, J. A., Grotzinger, H. M., Robinson, S. T., Takada, M. E., Mackey, A. P., Scherer, E., Rowe, M. L., West, M. R., Gabrieli, J. D. 2021; 49: 100967


    Children's early language environments are associated with linguistic, cognitive, and academic development, as well as concurrent brain structure and function. This study investigated neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking language input to development by measuring neuroplasticity associated with an intervention designed to enhance language environments of families primarily from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Families of 52 4-to-6 year-old children were randomly assigned to a 9-week, interactive, family-based intervention or no-contact control group. Children completed pre- and post-assessments of verbal and nonverbal cognition (n = 52), structural magnetic resonance imaging (n = 45), and home auditory recordings of language exposure (n = 39). Families who completed the intervention exhibited greater increases in adult-child conversational turns, and changes in turn-taking mediated intervention effects on language and executive functioning measures. Collapsing across groups, turn-taking changes were also positively correlated with cortical thickening in left inferior frontal and supramarginal gyri, the latter of which mediated relationships between changes in turn-taking and children's language development. This is the first study of longitudinal neuroplasticity in response to changes in children's language environments, and findings suggest that conversational turns support language development through cortical growth in language and social processing regions. This has implications for early interventions to enhance children's language environments to support neurocognitive development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2021.100967

    View details for PubMedID 34052580

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8175277

  • Associations between cortical thickness and reasoning differ by socioeconomic status in development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Leonard, J. A., Romeo, R. R., Park, A. T., Takada, M. E., Robinson, S. T., Grotzinger, H., Last, B. S., Finn, A. S., Gabrieli, J. D., Mackey, A. P. 2019; 36: 100641


    Although lower socioeconomic status (SES) is generally negatively associated with performance on cognitive assessments, some children from lower-SES backgrounds perform as well as their peers from higher-SES backgrounds. Yet little research has examined whether the neural correlates of individual differences in cognition vary by SES. The current study explored whether relationships between cortical structure and fluid reasoning differ by SES in development. Fluid reasoning, a non-verbal component of IQ, is supported by a distributed frontoparietal network, with evidence for a specific role of rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC). In a sample of 115 4-7-year old children, bilateral thickness of RLPFC differentially related to reasoning by SES: thicker bilateral RLPFC positively correlated with reasoning ability in children from lower-SES backgrounds, but not in children from higher-SES backgrounds. Similar results were found in an independent sample of 59 12-16-year old adolescents. Furthermore, young children from lower-SES backgrounds with strong reasoning skills were the only group to show a positive relationship between RLPFC thickness and age. In sum, we found that relationships between cortical thickness and cognition differ by SES during development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100641

    View details for PubMedID 30951970

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6969225