The Principles and Practices of Educational Neuroscience: Comment on Bowers (2016)

Paul Howard-Jones, Varma Sashank, Daniel Ansari, Brian Butterworth, Bert De Smedt, Usha Goswami, Diana Laurillard, Michael Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate (Academic Journal)peer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)
1049 Downloads (Pure)


In his recent critique of Educational Neuroscience, Bowers argues that neuroscience has no role to play in informing education, which he equates with classroom teaching. Neuroscience, he suggests, adds nothing to what we can learn from psychology. In this commentary, we argue that Bowers' assertions misrepresent the nature and aims of the work in this new field. We suggest that, by contrast, psychological and neural levels of explanation complement rather than compete with each other. Bowers' analysis also fails to include a role for educational expertise-a guiding principle of our new field. On this basis, we conclude that his critique is potentially misleading. We set out the well-documented goals of research in Educational Neuroscience, and show how, in collaboration with educators, significant progress has already been achieved, with the prospect of even greater progress in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-627
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • educational neuroscience
  • education
  • instruction
  • neuroscience
  • mind, brain, and education


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