Minds, Brains, and Learning: Understanding the Psychological and Educational Relevance of Neuroscientific Research / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In the Preface, Byrnes is hopeful that his book will be useful to teachers and others in the field of education who are currently being bombarded with information about the brain in teacher-oriented publications. This goal is amply fulfilled. 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 attempt to fill the communication gap between the practitioner and the basic researcher." --Keith E. Stanovich, PhD, Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto

"Educators seeking information on how the brain develops to make learning possible need look no further. This balanced, expansive book provides a highly readable account of the latest advances in both cognitive science and neuroscience, with an eye towards educational practice. Offering particular benefits to educational and school psychologists, the book will also be of interest to cognitive and developmental psychologists." --Charles A. Nelson, PhD, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Child Psychology, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

"Byrnes artfully juxtaposes the current status of two emergent disciplines: brain science and cognitive science. Besides succinctly introducing the important role of brain structures in cognitive and educational processes, the text provides a provocative scaffold for rethinking several assumptions related to the interdependence between mental and neural processes. This clear and readable book will be a useful text in both educational psychology and cognitive psychology courses." --Stephen W. Porges, PhD, Center for Developmental Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago

So confident was Byrnes (human development, U. of Maryland-College Park) in his insistence that brain research was irrelevant to him that he taught a graduate course to debunk it. He changed his mind, and wrote a paper about why. Here he expands that for psychologists who are skeptical of the relevance of brain research, teachers and others in education who are currently being bombarded with information about the brain, and anyone else who wants to know more about the brain but is daunted by the neuroscientific literature. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572306523
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

James P. Byrnes, PhD, is Professor of Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he is affiliated with the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program. He has published research in the areas of mathematics learning, decision making, language, deductive reasoning, gender differences in cognition, and ethnic differences in school achievement. He is former vice president of the Jean Piaget Society and serves on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Child Development, American Educational Research Journal, and the Journal of Cognition and Development.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Brain Development
Chapter 3: Memory
Chapter 4: Attention
Chapter 5: Emotion
Chapter 6: Reading
Chapter 7: Math Skills
Chapter 8: Conclusions
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