Universitat Jaume I de Castellón (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 663-671
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1129
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Over the past two decades the growing importance of neuroscience —both by itself and by its union with social sciences— has enabled the birth of neuroethics, neuropolitics, neuromarketing and neuroeducation, among others. Social neurosciences have had a wide impact on academic, clinical and social field, enabling a wider study of the human brain in relation to the activities performed in society. Education has also had an axis of intersection with neuroscience, called neuroeducation or Mind Brain and Education.
Neuroeducation stands for a new opportunity to study how the brain learns through a union of cognitive neuroscience techniques and the teaching practice. On the one hand, its clinical aspect works primarily on the detection of clinical disorders and the possibilities and risks of psychopharmacology treatment (Stein et al., 2011). On the other hand, its non-clinical aspect works especially in how the study of neural basis can help to design methodologies to teach accordingly to the brain, and also the study of neuromyths (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2011).

Neuroeducation defines neuromyths generally as false ideas, believes, interpretations or extrapolations that have permeated deeply into public opinion despite having been banished or invalidated by neuroscience. They are usually simple explanations or unproved hypotheses, but pervasive into the public opinion due to the spread in the media. Some of the most studied neuromyths are: the conditioning of learning at three years; humans use only 10% of the brain; the brain hemispheric lateralization; or preferred learning styles (VAK) (OECD, 2007). All these neuromyths refer to the apprenticeship model of teaching in general, but there are also neuromyths in moral education.

The main purpose of this presentation is to highlight that some contributions of neuroethics to moral education could be neuromyths. We refer especially to those which are raised in a monological neurorrationality inserted in a reductionist and materialistic view of the mind. Some of these neuromyths in moral education could be: we are hardwired to develop sympathy with people close to us —family, friends— but not with the distant people (Churchland, 2011); freedom is a brain fiction that works socially (Rubia, 2009); or it is better to educate in intuition that in moral reasoning because it is faster and requires less effort (Haidt, 2001). The fostering of these neuromyths in moral education will not allow us to achieve the post-conventional level of moral development in terms of L. Kohlberg, and much less to achieve global justice criteria in a world that increasingly need them.

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Neuroeducation, neuromyths, moral education, neuroethics.