The potential of neuroscience for health sciences education: towards convergence of evidence and resisting seductive allure

Anique B. H. de Bruin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since emergence of the field 'Educational Neuroscience' (EN) in the late nineties of the previous century, a debate has emerged about the potential this field holds to influence teaching and learning in the classroom. By now, most agree that the original claims promising direct translations to teaching and learning were too strong. I argue here that research questions in (health professions) education require multi-methodological approaches, including neuroscience, while carefully weighing what (combination of) approaches are most suitable given a research question. Only through a multi-methodological approach will convergence of evidence emerge, which is so desperately needed for improving teaching and learning in the classroom. However, both researchers and teachers should become aware of the so-called 'seductive allure' of EN; that is, the demonstrable physical location and apparent objectivity of the measurements can be interpreted as yielding more powerful evidence and warranting stronger conclusions than, e.g., behavioral experiments, where in fact oftentimes the reverse is the case. I conclude that our tendency as researchers to commit ourselves to one methodological approach and to addressing educational research questions from a single methodological perspective is limiting progress in educational science and in translation to education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-990
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Educational Neuroscience
  • Evidence
  • Theory building
  • Translation to education
  • Convergence of evidence
  • Seductive allure

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