Document Type

Presentation - Oral - to academic peers, less than or equal to 1 hour

Title

What do they know? Where do they learn it? College students’ knowledge of neuroscience concepts

Department

Education & Psychology

Date of Activity

10-14-2012

Abstract

Since the 1990s there has been a surge of brain research including many and varied areas of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuroimaging, and human behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine what college students knew about the brain and how direct instruction relates to their ability to correctly differentiate between myth and fact about the human brain and nervous system. Ten research questions addressed gender, major, type of high school attended, sources of information, and participation in brain awareness week. There were 303 undergraduate students from General and Developmental Psychology courses who participated in this study. All participants completed The Brain: Fact or Myth Survey (BFMS), consisting of 30 statements (15 myths and 15 facts) corresponding to the eight Neuroscience Core Concepts. Participants only got half of the items correct on the test of brain awareness (M=15.28, SD=3.62, N=303). There were no differences in gender and the performance of those students who received direct instruction and those who did not. Natural Science majors and Other majors outperformed their Behavioral Science counterparts, but this difference was not statically significant. Participants who had at least three years of college (Junior standing), outperformed their first year peers and was statistically significant (F(2,297)= 3.93, p= .021). More than 80% of the participants were unaware of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) held on their college campus. Future research should investigate how universities can use BAW as a platform for engaging students in knowledge of brain research.

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