Seventh International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2012 July 30 - August 4

Teaching: A New Frontier
of the Neurocognitive
Sciences, Education
and Culture

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Gentaro Taga
University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Education, Japan

Developmental cognitive neuroscience approach to learning and teaching
To understand human learning and teaching, it is crucial to clarify the precursors of such activity in early infancy and their underlying brain mechanisms. A core mechanism is dynamic interaction from microscopic to macroscopic levels; from synaptic interactions among neurons to social interactions among individuals. Recent progress on neuroimaging technique has revealed that young infants’ brain is sensitive to social information such as mother’s voices and other’s actions, which should be a prerequisite for learning and teaching. Recent studies have also shown that early behaviors of infants are mediated by the short- and long-range connectivity of the cortex. Another prerequisite for learning and teaching is to produce actions spontaneously and change actions in response to environmental and/or social information. A recent study has shown that young infants have ability to immediately synchronize limb movements to music sounds. It has been also shown that young infants can change their spontaneous movements in response to elicited movements of mobile toys by themselves and memorize such movement patterns for a long period. Thus, a growing number of evidences have shown reciprocity and mutuality in young infants’ behavior and brain mechanisms, which should be important for understanding the basis of human educational processes.