Dr. Vivek Benegal

    • Dr. Vivek Benegal's details
      • Country: India
      • Region: Bangalore
      • University: NIMHANS - National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore

    Dr. Vivek Benegal M.D.; D.P.M, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore.

    His clinical duties involve the treatment of persons with substance abuse and lately over the last decade or more his clientele has increasingly involved young people (adolescents and young adults).

    This has also shaped his research agenda – exploring the genetic-environmental (social-political) and neurobiological factors which make some young persons more vulnerable to a spectrum of high risk behaviors which include early experimentation and early, severe problems with alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as a number of mental disorders. His research suggests that such a vulnerability may be a result of a delay in brain maturation which is manifest externally as a spectrum of behaviors marked by impulsivity, difficulty in sustaining interest and attention on tasks paired with the ability to hyper-fixate on tasks of their interest, difficulty in learning from mistakes, a low boredom threshold, exaggerated emotional reactivity etc. This has often been termed the externalizing spectrum of behaviors. This is a description most teachers are very familiar with in their classrooms. These adolescents are often deemed difficult and uneducable and always in trouble and yet as most teachers also recognise that such presentations are also paired with above average creativity and intelligence.

    Naturally this information needs to be translated into interventions which can help detect, perhaps one day prevent but above all ameliorate these conditions and also harness the innate creativity of these young persons.

    In this context, the early evidence that art (visual art, music, theatre etc) affects the developing human brain profoundly and may potentially be harnessed to make beneficial changes in brain circuits (neuroplastic) which subserve attention, learning and memory, emotional regulation, motivation etc. as well as enhance functions in areas of the brain used in learning and acquiring other skills (e,g. the connection between practicing music and enhanced arithmetic skills), has led Vivek to ask whether art education and the enhancement of creativity can be harnessed to bring about positive changes in psychological and  cognitive functioning in young people especially adolescents and young adults at-high-risk for externalising disorders and protect against the negative impacts of such temperaments.

    Vivek Benegal has a diploma in Film and Theatre, and in a previous life been the theatre critic and itinerant culture correspondent for the Telegraph newspaper in Calcutta from 1979 to 1986. He and was actively involved in set-designing for theatre in Bangalore and has co-directed 2 short films. He briefly held a job in advertising- where he produced a commercial film for India’s first microwave oven..both of which never saw light of day !!



    CERTAD TALKS is an initiative to bring together eminent educators, artists, designers, thinkers and practitioners to talk with invited audiences about important aspects of education. Our purpose is to engage with powerful questions, provocative ideas and explore opportunities for innovative and sustainable education practice. We envision CERTAD TALKS will contribute to on going discussions and dialogue on what is valuable in constructing learning today.
  • Give us your feedback