Friday · Oct 9
9:00 - 11:00

Perspectives on Educational Neuroscience Research

Andrea Paula Goldin

Laboratorio de neurociencia, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella – CONICET

Despite the growing number of research groups worldwide and the amount of papers published in the most prestigious journals, Educational Neuroscience is still an opaque area for much of the neuroscience community. This symposium seeks to bridge that gap. Results of face-to-face and remote behavioral interventions and EEG recordings within the classroom and the laboratory will be presented. But in order to successfully carry out these procedures, it is necessary to develop and forge fluid interactions of trust and support with the educational community as a whole and with the rest of the scientific community working in the area at a global level. This necessary cross-talk between such diverse fields requires a different approach than what we are used to. This symposium will offer a space for discussion based on the experiences of referents in the area from four countries.

The key... Knowing who you teach and knowing who teaches you.

Cecilia Inés Calero

Área de Educación, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella - CONICET

Teaching can be defined as behavior with the intent to facilitate learning in another (Pearson 1989), and is also described as a facilitator of accurate social transmission of knowledge by narrowing the range of inferences that learners make to acquire new cultural concepts (Kline, 2015), if we include a mentalistic and a culture approach to the definition. According to these theoretical frameworks, teaching can be understood as a natural instinct that humans share across cultures, which seems to develop early, probably shaping most of our learning experiences. Therefore, given its significance, understanding how this dynamic bi-directional relation within the teacher-learner dyad works, both inside and outside formal education settings, is essential. In the present talk I will present an exploration of simple tasks and paradigms developed by our group which seek to describe and compare what happens when different types of students and teachers are introduced into this dyad. For example, knowledgeable versus naïve learners, or learning experiences that include teachers and students that are not not familiar with each other. All in all, the main goal of the presentation is to mark the importance of both knowing who teaches you, but also of knowing who you teach, in order to achieve meaningful knowledge transmission.

The UB-EDU1st Chair of Neuroeducation as a research environment

Anna Forés Miravalles

Universidad de Barcelona

With the focus on improving education, the UB-EDU1s Chair of Neuroeducation of the University of Barcelona investigates, from a transdisciplinary perspective, how to apply advances in neuroscience to the educational field. The Chair has set up a network of networks with world leaders in the field, in order to both investigate and disseminate findings in neuroeducation. Through the organization of international congresses, conferences, master’s degrees and courses, it offers society in general, and teachers in particular, the latest results from research in the field. With this aim, the Journal of Neuroeducation has been recently launched. In this symposium, we will share the working lines carried out by the Chair and its scientific community.

Impact of poverty and a cognitive stimulation program on executive functioning and its neural correlates in a preschool population

Verónica Nin

Centro de Investigación Básica en Psicología, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

There is evidence of a substantial improvement in various cognitive processes during early childhood, among them, the basic processes that allow for autonomously and self-regulating behaviour in novel and changing scenarios, such as school settings. Altogether, these processes are called Executive Functions (EF) and they allow i) to temporarily maintain, update and manipulate information in consciousness (working memory), ii) to inhibit automatic and dominant responses in favor of subdominant responses that are appropriate to contingencies (inhibitory control), and iii) to adapt the set of rules that are followed depending on the context (cognitive flexibility). Higher cognitive functions such as reasoning and planning are rooted in the aforementioned basic functions. However, not all developmental scenarios equally promote the maturation of these aspects of cognition. In this work we show that in a population of children attending preschool in Montevideo, Uruguay, poverty has an important impact on performance in tasks that require EF. Also, some neural correlates recorded by EEG are sensitive to the socioeconomic context. In particular, in a task that evaluates inhibitory control the amplitude of the N2 and P3 components elicited by incongruent stimuli are modulated by SES. Finally, we show that a program designed to promote cognitive development through video games promotes improvement in tasks that require inhibitory control and reasoning.

Building a Global Science of Learning for Education: A Role for Neuroscience?

Andrea A. Chiba

Professor, Dept. of Cognitive Science and Program in Neuroscience; Co-Director Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, University of California San Diego; Co-Founder Global Science of Learning for Education Network.

The Science of Learning (SoL) is a multi-disciplinary science that ranges from the very basic cellular and molecular science of how an organism learns, to how children and adolescents use their brains, bodies, and sociality to best learn in cultures and classrooms, to methods for augmenting and restoring the capacity to learn. The trauma of poverty and poor health adds even more complexity, regardless of culture or country. Our growing global population of children exists in disparate cultures and circumstances yet face common challenges requiring coordinated and effective solutions. Great affluence is juxtaposed with extraordinary poverty; education and health care crises persist in many nations. This is an incredible loss of human potential. Many nations focus resources on restoring mental and physical health but lack sufficient understanding of what every child needs to learn, flourish and prevent later developmental problems. Conserving, restoring, nurturing, and optimizing the most basic ability to learn and thrive, especially for those children exposed to the worst of economic and social circumstances, requires concerted action by a global community of scientists, technologists, educators, policy makers, activists, and philanthropists. Neuroscience has the opportunity to play a central role in the science of learning, making a pre-emptive effort to place the brain-body and learning as a motivator to designing learning contexts that vary according to needs.