Researchers have surveyed educators, the public and people who have completed neuroscience courses, to assess their belief in neuromyths. Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain research, many of which relate to learning and education. They found that belief in neuromyths is extremely common and that training in education and neuroscience helped to reduce these beliefs, but did not eliminate them.
Would you rate the following statement as ‘True’ or ‘False’? “A common sign of dyslexia is seeing letters backwards.” If you chose ‘True’ then you are in good company — 76% of the public, 59% of educators and 50% of people who have completed neuroscience courses agree with you. The problem is, the statement is false. It’s a neuromyth, and a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology has shown that these misconceptions are incredibly common.
So, why does it matter if people believe in neuromyths? Many neuromyths relate brain research to education, but misinterpret or overstate the original research. They are often oversimplifications, reducing complex issues to just one factor, such as “kids are less attentive after eating sugary snacks.”
For teachers who believe the dyslexia neuromyth above, they might miss an opportunity to get a child with dyslexia appropriate help, if the child doesn’t display letter reversals. Similarly, teachers using educational techniques based on neuromyths may achieve better results by switching to evidence-based methods.
While previous research has shown that belief in neuromyths is worryingly common in other countries, there was little known about this problem in US educators. Kelly Macdonald, a graduate student at the University of Houston involved in the study, had previously worked as a teacher. “I encountered neuromyths throughout teacher trainings and saw many teachers using related practices in their classrooms,” she says.
Macdonald and her colleagues investigated the prevalence of neuromyths in US…