Using Neuromyths to Explore Educator Cognition: A Mouse-Tracking Paradigm

AbstractCurrent theories of knowledge acquisition suggest that newly learned knowledge does not always supplant prior knowledge, even when newly learned knowledge repairs errors. New knowledge may suppress prior knowledge, particularly for overlearned, explicit responses, creating internal competition between knowledge elements. Competition between new and prior knowledge may be one reason misconceptions are highly resistant to repair. The present study examines misconceptions in a specific domain: pre-service educators’ beliefs about neuromyths. Addressing misconceptions in pre-service educators is important because these misconceptions are likely to be transmitted to students and may reduce the effectiveness of instruction. A computer mouse-tracking paradigm measured explicit beliefs in neuromyths as well as implicit uncertainty during the decision-making process. The findings demonstrated that pre-service educators often endorsed neuromyths but were uncertain about the veracity of neurofacts. These findings add to our knowledge of misconceptions, their durability, and demonstrate a need to address misconceptions in educator preparation.

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