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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: The process of learning has been of great interest to psychologists and educators alike. Nevertheless, educational approaches have long been based on behavioral or theoretical foundations. This book presents a new framework for developing learning approaches through recent neuroscience research.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide readers with an introduction to recent neuroscience research as it relates to the development of cognitive abilities, especially attention. The authors aim to stimulate the development of new approaches to education that stem from our budding knowledge of brain activity.
Audience: Generally, this book is targeted at educators, researchers, and students interested in the development of brain systems responsible for attention. It is written at a level that most novices will understand, and yet provides solid research and technical foundations that more advanced readers will appreciate. Written by two distinguished researchers, the expertise is unrivaled.
Features: This book has three main themes: the foundation of neuroscience research as it relates to development; the development of attention networks in children; and changes in brain activity during the learning process in children. The writing is clear and ambiguous terminology is explained up front. A list of tables and figures at the beginning allows for easy referencing. This is particularly helpful since there are abundant tables and figures throughout the text, including diagrams of the brain, MRI and PET slides, ERP graphs, and even examples of the cognitive tasks to help the reader fully comprehend the findings. Placed throughout the book are intriguing clinical examples of the research findings (e.g., when discussing the role of neurotransmitters in attention, the authors present clinical examples from Alzheimer's disease and ADHD) that bring a practical aspect to the book. Although there are general descriptions of the training tasks used in research, unfortunately the book is lacking in specific examples or suggestions to guide educators in implementing new learning techniques.
Assessment: This is a thoughtful contribution to the developmental arena. It combines neuroscience research with learning and development in a practical manner. The authors present this intriguing information at a meaningful but readable level for educators and students. In the end, such a book encourages a novel neuroscience framework from which educational approaches can evolve to better serve the learning needs of our children.