Why should psychologists and educators study the brain? Can neuroscientific research advance our understanding of student learning and motivation? What do informed readers need to know to tell the difference between plausible applications of brain research and unfounded speculation? This timely volume considers the benefits of incorporating findings from cognitive neuroscience into the fields of educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology. The book provides a basic foundation in the methodology of brain research; describes the factors that affect brain development; and reviews salient findings on attention, memory, emotion, and reading and mathematics. For each domain, the author considers the ways that the neuroscientific evidence overlaps with or diverges from existing psychological models. Readers gain skills for assessing the credibility of widely publicized claims regarding critical periods of learning, the effects of stress hormones on the brain, the role of music training in boosting academic performance, and more. Also elucidated are the possible neuroscientific bases of attention deficits, reading problems, and mathematical disabilities in children. The volume concludes by suggesting areas for future investigation that may help answer important questions about individual and developmental differences in learning.
'Even those in education who remain skeptical of the relevance of neuroscience research need to read this book, if only in order to ground their criticisms in evidence. Byrnes delivers a fine summary of current neuroscientific work. The book is not for the specialist, but instead provides a wonderful overview for those relatively new to the field. We need more books like this that attempts to fill the communication gap between the practitioner and the basic researcher.' - Keith E. Department of Human Development and Appied Psychology, University of Toronto