Why should educators care about cognitive neuroscience

Faculty of Education
Mar 24th, 2017
Kelly Foss

Dr. Patricia Canning

Learning occurs through experience-dependent changes of connections within the brain. It therefore seems a 'no brainer' that the study of brain function and structure can and should inform education.

Dr. Daniel Ansari holds the Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University.

He will give the inaugural Dr. Patricia Canning Memorial Lecture in Child Health and Development at Memorial University on March 28, 2017.

“Much attention has been paid to the marriage between education and neuroscience marked by the emergence of new fields such as ‘Educational Neuroscience’ and ‘Mind, Brain and Education’,” said Dr. Ansari. “The aim of this talk is to provide a critical overview of the potential for neuroscience, particularly cognitive neuroscience, to inform education and educational professionals.”

Dr. Ansari will discuss challenges as well as opportunities in connecting cognitive neuroscience and education by reviewing different sources of evidence and their relative degree of educational relevance, including the proliferations of so-called ‘brain-based’ products that suffer from a complete lack of an evidence base and lead to the generation of ‘neuromyths’. He will also discuss future pathways towards a productive and bidirectional connection between education and cognitive neuroscience.

Dr. Danial Ansari was one of the first researchers in the world to use non-invasive brain-imaging devices to understand how children's brains process numbers, and how that brain activation changes with age. By doing that, he discovered how children's brains process numerical information differently than adults' brains, thus highlighting the importance of development. This discovery also raised the question of how these developmental processes go awry in children who have difficulties with math.

His lecture, titled, Why should educators care about cognitive neuroscience?, will take place Tuesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, room IIC-2001.

A reception will follow and limited free parking is available in Lot 17.

The Dr. Patricia Canning Memorial Lecture in Child Health and Development was established through generous gifts from the family and friends of the late Dr. Patricia Canning, a child psychologist, educator and researcher at Memorial University.

The purpose of the lecture series is to attract a leader in the broadly defined area of child health and development research or discovery, with a goal of providing wide-reaching benefit to both the public and the Memorial University community. Speakers must have an international reputation and have produced extensive research on issues relevant to researchers, policy makers and practitioners. 

 Return to News Archive


Faculty of Education

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000