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      A Bridge Too Far – Revisited: Reframing Bruer’s Neuroeducation Argument for Modern Science of Learning Practitioners


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          In Education and the Brain: A Bridge Too Far, John Bruer argues that, although current neuroscientific findings must filter through cognitive psychology in order to be applicable to the classroom, with increased knowledge the neuroscience/education bridge can someday be built. Here, we suggest that translation cannot be understood as a single process: rather, we demonstrate that at least four different ‘bridges’ can conceivably be built between these two fields. Following this, we demonstrate that, far from being a matter of information lack, a prescriptive neuroscience/education bridge (the one most relevant to Bruer’s argument) is a practical and philosophical impossibility due to incommensurability between non-adjacent compositional levels-of-organization: a limitation inherent in all sciences. After defining this concept in the context of biology, we apply this concept to the learning sciences and demonstrate why all brain research must be behaviorally translated before prescriptive educational applicability can be elucidated. We conclude by exploring examples of how explicating different forms of translation and adopting a levels-of-organization framework can be used to contextualize and beneficially guide research and practice across all learning sciences.

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                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                16 March 2016
                : 7
                [1]Science of Learning Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne VIC, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Layne Kalbfleisch, George Washington University, USA

                Reviewed by: E. Michael Nussbaum, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA; Firat Soylu, The University of Alabama, USA

                *Correspondence: Jared C. Horvath, jared.cooney.horvath@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2016 Horvath and Donoghue.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 73, Pages: 12, Words: 0
                Funded by: Australian Research Council 10.13039/501100000923
                Award ID: Project Number SR120300015

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                neuroscience,psychology,education,translation,levels-of-organization,learning sciences


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