Applications of Neuroscience to Mathematics Education

Bert De Smedt and Roland H. Grabner

in The Oxford Handbook of Numerical Cognition

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780199642342
Published online November 2014 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Applications of Neuroscience to Mathematics Education

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Educational Psychology


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In this chapter, we explore three types of applications of neuroscience to mathematics education: neurounderstanding, neuroprediction, and neurointervention. Neurounderstanding refers to the idea that neuroscience is generating knowledge on how people acquire mathematical skills and how this learning is reflected at the biological level. Such knowledge might yield a better understanding of the typical and atypical development of school-taught mathematical competencies. Neuroprediction deals with the potential of neuroimaging data to predict future mathematical skill acquisition and response to educational interventions. In neurointervention, we discuss how brain imaging data have been used to ground interventions targeted at mathematics learning and how education shapes the neural circuitry that underlies school-taught mathematics. We additionally elaborate on recently developed neurophysiological interventions that have been shown to affect mathematical learning. While these applications offer exciting opportunities for mathematics education, some potential caveats should be considered, which are discussed at the end of this chapter.

Keywords: educational neuroscience; mathematics; neuroprediction; intervention; mathematics education; mind; brain; education; neuroeducation

Article.  10987 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Educational Psychology

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