Document Type

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

Title

Mind your brain: College students’ knowledge of neuroscience

Department

Education & Psychology

Date of Activity

2-16-2012

Abstract

The field of neuroscience is the study of the nervous system with stated goals for 1. describing the human brain and its functioning; 2. determining how the nervous system develops, matures and maintains itself throughout life and 3. finding ways to prevent or cure many neurological and psychiatric disorders (http://www.sfn.org). Several subspecialties in psychology have developed in recent years that combine brain, behavior and cognitive functioning. It is clear that psychology is deeply involved in the science of the brain, a fact which begs the question for psychologists in higher education: With the burgeoning of information and exploding knowledge about the human brain, how much do college students know of these new findings? The purpose of this study was to measure the knowledge of college students with about ten simple facts about the human brain. Five research questions guided this study. Questions addressed knowledge differences as they relate to gender, major, and type of high school attended. There were two waves of data collection from General and Developmental Psychology: fall semesters of 2010 and 2011. There were 525 total participants who completed The Brain: Fact or Myth Survey (BFMS), consisting of 30 statements (10 facts and 20 myths). In Fall 2010, the average score participants got was about 6 out of the 10 Brain Facts: results for fall 2011 yielded similar outcomes. There were no gender, academic discipline, type of high school attended differences in the distribution of correct percentages on the Brain Facts. Future research should explore the relationship between the Eight Core Neuroscience Concepts and what is taught in college classes. Research needs to explore better methods to introduce students to what they need to know about the brain.

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