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Neuroscience and education: prime time to build the bridge

Nature Neuroscience volume 17, pages 497502 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

As neuroscience gains social traction and entices media attention, the notion that education has much to benefit from brain research becomes increasingly popular. However, it has been argued that the fundamental bridge toward education is cognitive psychology, not neuroscience. We discuss four specific cases in which neuroscience synergizes with other disciplines to serve education, ranging from very general physiological aspects of human learning such as nutrition, exercise and sleep, to brain architectures that shape the way we acquire language and reading, and neuroscience tools that increasingly allow the early detection of cognitive deficits, especially in preverbal infants. Neuroscience methods, tools and theoretical frameworks have broadened our understanding of the mind in a way that is highly relevant to educational practice. Although the bridge's cement is still fresh, we argue why it is prime time to march over it.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the faculty and students of the Latin American School for Education, Cognitive and Neural Sciences (LA School) for kindling the ideas presented here, the James S. McDonnell Foundation for supporting the LA School, D. Koshiyama for librarian support, G. Gellon for reading and commenting the manuscript, and D. Klahr for inspiring the notion that educational neuroscience lies in Pasteur's Quadrant. S.R. is funded by grant 14385 (ACERTA), 049/2012/CAPES/INEP – Programa Observatório da Educação. M.S. and A.P.G. are funded by CONICET and UBACYT. M.S. is sponsored by a scholar award of the James McDonnell Foundation. M.P. is sponsored by CONICYT Chile, Fondecyt # 1110928 and IDeA CA12I10372.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Laboratorio de Neurociencia Integrativa, Physics Department, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires and IFIBA, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    • Mariano Sigman
    •  & Andrea P Goldin
  2. Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    • Mariano Sigman
    •  & Andrea P Goldin
  3. Laboratorio de Neurociencias Cognitivas, Escuela de Psicología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

    • Marcela Peña
  4. Instituto do Cérebro, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Brazil.

    • Sidarta Ribeiro

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mariano Sigman.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3672