David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4):381-399 (2008)
Cognitive neuroscience aims to improve our understanding of aspects of human learning and performance by combining data acquired with the new brain imaging technologies with data acquired in cognitive psychology paradigms. Both neuroscience and psychology use the philosophical assumptions underpinning the natural sciences, namely the scientific method, whereby hypotheses are proposed and tested using quantitative approaches. The relevance of 'brain science' for the classroom has proved controversial with some educators, perhaps because of distrust of the applicability of so-called 'medical models' to education. Nevertheless, the brain is the main organ of learning, and so a deeper understanding of the brain would appear highly relevant to education. Modern science is revealing the crucial role of biology in every aspect of human experience and performance. This does not mean that biology determines outcomes. Rather, there is a complex interplay between biology and environments. Improved knowledge about how the brain learns should assist educators in creating optimal learning environments. Neuroscience can also identify 'biomarkers' of educational risk, and provide new methodologies to test the effects of educational interventions.
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