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Neuro-hit or neuro-myth?

January 29, 2016

By: Dr. Victoria Knowland

Edited by: Professor Michael Thomas

B0003260 Composite artwork - 8 images of the brain


Teachers and parents have a great enthusiasm for the brain sciences and the light they can shed on learning in educational environments. However sometimes this enthusiasm can lead to educators too readily accepting teaching practices, ideas, or techniques that do not actually have a scientific basis in neuroscience – or which reflect some basis in neuroscience but have not been rigorously tested within an educational context. This phenomenon has been labelled the spread of ‘neuromyths’ – mistaken ideas about the brain – and it has been the topic of discussion by researchers within neuroscience (e.g., articles by Goswami and Howard-Jones).


Researchers in educational neuroscience have begun to compile sets of resources, meta-analyses and reviews to address which neuroscience-inspired teaching techniques are supported by empirical evidence, and which ‘facts’ about the brain actually reflect current consensus within neuroscience.


The Centre for Educational Neuroscience (CEN) has produced some resources themed around some of the main topics where neuromyths have arisen. Find below brief overviews about the existing state of research – what we know and don’t yet know on these topics.


Are these ‘neuro-hits’ or ‘neuro-myths’?



This work was  supported by a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund grant awarded to Professor Michael Thomas, Birkbeck, University of London.

Get in touch on twitter: @UoL_CEN

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2016 6:54 pm

    Very interesting! Thank you for this post. I look forward to reading these articles.

  2. February 14, 2016 7:56 am

    Thanks for this, it seems so many myths are spread throughout education, it is difficult to know what is fact. Maybe well intentioned ideas but just wasting everyone’s time. Something in short supply as a teacher. Encouraging senior leaders in schools to interact with academic research may help this. If more people were aware of the term cognitive bias, it would also help.

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