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Promote an understanding of neuroscience research within the educational community. We hope to achieve this goal by promoting neuroscience research that has implications for educational practice and by providing a forum for the issues and controversies connecting these two fields.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
BNE-SIG History

Introduction by David Andrews

Note: The SIG History facts have not been verified but represent the opinions of the authors. We are in the process of developing a history document. If you have comments or suggested edits please write to us. Updates on conferences post 2002 are forthcoming.

Marlin Languis, Professor of Educaton at Ohio State had begun a research program exploring brain and education relations (specifically EEG related research), along with a loose collaboration of colleagues at Ohio State. He, perhaps with the collaboration or assistance of one of his graduate students (if so, it was most likely Mike Torello, who is now at Capital University) had circulated a petition for the creation of the "Psychophysiology and Education SIG" at the 1984 (I think) AERA convention.

Nothing was done with it. I was on sabbatical and doing some other things at Ohio State when (by a long, convoluted, and actually fairly bizarre set of circumstances) I found out about his interest and lab. l had been teaching Physiological Psychology (then renamed Brain and Behavior) for about 15 years at Keene State (New Hampshire) at that point. As things worked out, I spent the rest of my sabbatical year working in his lab and stayed another year. At some point he showed me the list of signatures for the creation of a SIG.

I then went ahead with getting the appropriate number of member signatures, creation of constitution, completion of all the paperwork, etc. to become a SIG. From then until Bruce Dunn assumed the leadership, I was President, Program Chair, and everything else (e.g moderator and/or discussant for nearly all the sessions, etc.).

After Bruce became President, I continued on as program chair for quite awhile - can't remember exactly when we got someone else to take that over. Merle Wittrock was a speaker at one of the early sessions, but he never had any leadership role in the SIG or any involvement in its creation (He and Marlin Languis has collaborated on a paper, and he presented at a symposium, but I don't know of any other involvement). I became less involved when my institution made me an offer I couldn't refuse to assume some admininstrative roles and transition in to retirement.

Chronology by Read Diket

Special interest groups in AERA provide a forum for developing strands of research in education. Often, as a strand of research develops, the interest group adjusts its name to reflect those developments. It can be interesting to go back in time and follow the evolution of research through the presenters and titles of the sessions. As reported here, the history is limited to the memory and working documents of current leadership’s membership in the group. In sessions each year, two basic themes are explored: What is the current status of basic research in the neurosciences? How is teaching impacted by research in neurosciences?

M. C. Wittrock is thought to be the organizing president in the 1980s. The current leaders earliest records list Bruce R. Dunn, University of West Florida, as president of Psychophysiology and Education from 1988-1990. In 1990, Marlin Languis, Ohio State University, assumes the presidency and apparently serves until Martha Wilson, Capital University, enters into the presidency by 1993. Denise Dunn, University of West Florida, enters the presidency in 1996 and continues in the office through 1997. In 1998, and 1999, Carol Fry Bohlin, California State University at Fresno, provides leadership at the conferences as president. George Hruby, University of Georgia, assumes leadership in 2000 and continues his role through the 2002 conference. In 2003, Read M. Diket, William Carey College, completes her first year as president and prepares for a second year of leadership.


BNE-SIG Chronology

1992: SIG Psychophysiology and Education (San Francisco)

  • Putting Educational Relevance in Biological Context: Implications of Brain Research/ chair/discussant David Andres, Keene State College; participants Virginia W. Berninger, U. of Washington, Bruce Dunn, U. of West Florida- themes respectively were neuropsychology and cognitive psychophysiology
  • Learning and the Brain/ David B. Andrews, Keene State College; Bruce Dunn, Paul Van Dyke, Mike McKay of U. of West Florida; Peter Gram, Pensacola Junior College: theme is differences in brain’s electrical activity patterns as a function of learning words verses pictures (Stroop test)
  • Marlin Languis, Ohio State University chaired membership meeting

1993: became SIG Brain and Education (Atlanta)

  • Brain and Education: What Are We Learning? Chair/discussant Martha Wilson, Capital University; participants Lorraine Coffin, Glenn Cartwright, McGill University
  • Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain/ chair David Andrews; book discussant/author Renate N. Caine, CSU, San Bernadino
  • Martha Wilson, Capital University chaired membership meeting

1994: SIG Brain and Education (New Orleans)  

  • Learning and the Brain: Neurobiological and Psychophysiological Research Martha Wilson, chair; Edynn Y. Sato, UCLA, spoke on selective attention and education with neurobiological perspective; Denise A. Dunn, Bruce R. Dunn, Patricia Peters, M. Kelly Thompson, U. of West Florida, explored interest and event-related potential; Luara Gaudet, Dinah Jackson, U. of Northern Colorado investigated neurological and psychosocial consequences of traumatic brain injury; Marlin L. Languis served as discussant
  • Applying Brain-Based Principles to Education: Demonstrations, Performances, and Consultation/ roundtables—Renate N. Caine, CSU on documentation of wholistic phenomena in learning using cross-discipline approach with neurosciences; Delores D. Liston, U. of NC, Greensboro on stories of the mind with brain-based education and narrations; Terrell N. Chandler, Georgia Tech with cognitive physiology and applied physiological principles in mental stimulation.
  • Handedness and Gender Implications in Learning/ chair, discussant Martha A. Wilson, Capital University; Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU presented on solution strategies for mathematics problems and spatial visualization ability considered with handedness and gender; Joseph M. Piro, Long Island Unversity determined patterns of handedness; Nancy Bailey, U. of Florida investigated measurement of students’ potential for professional development in veterinary medicine
  • Martha Wilson, Capital University chaired membership meeting

1995: Brain and Education (San Francisco)  

  • Learning Strategies and Individual Differences: Classroom Implications/ Chair, discussant Edynn Sato, UCLA; Umesh Thakkar, Ohio State University, discussed visualization processes in classrooms as relates to physiological and neural research; Marlin Languis reported brain mapping assessment of middle-school learning strategies in an intervention program with Scott Johnson, Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation, Suzane Crummy & Deborah Withers, Dublin Public Schools; JoEllen Harris Stearns, Ohio State University assessed characteristics of creative high school students; Martha A. Wilson, Capital University, and Barry T. Alcock, Medina Middle School addressed the widening community of learning and partnerships for teacher and middle school education
  • Learning and the Brain: Environmental and Psychosocial Considerations/ Martha Wilson, Capital University served as chair, discussant. Participants Delores D. Liston, GA Southern University, spoke on brain-compatible classroom using theory in praxis; Renate Nummela Caine, CSU, used research on plasticity to inform understanding of optimum enriched environments for human learning; Stephen K. Rice, Karen Rice, Lane Lovell, all Florida State University, presented dimensions of differential experience with enriched environments, cortical plasticity, and pondered implications for instructional design; Denise A. Dunn, Bruce R. Dunn, Patricia Peters, M. Kelly Thompson, University of West Florida with Suzanne Hidi, OISE reported event-related potentials in males and females with two levels of reading interestedness; Laura B. Gaudet, Steven Pulos, Dinah Jackson, U. of N. Colorado, addressed self-reported concerns of traumatic brain injured individuals from the perspectives of survivors, family members, and healthcare providers
  • Martha Wilson, Capital University is president; Martha Davis, U. of SC is secretary/treasurer; program chair is Edynn Sato, UCLA; past president Marlin L. Languis, Excellence in Learning, Inc.; membership Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno; Tani Erwin, Columbus City Schools was newsletter editor

1996: Brain and Education (New York City)  

  • Brain Behavior Research: Studying Individual Differences (Symposium in honor of Marlin L. Languis) Chair,discussant David Andres, Keene College. Participants Denise A. Dunn, Bruce R. Dunn, Frank Andrasik, U. of West Florida, and Patricia. T. Garrett-Peters, U. of Maryland, discussed event-related potential correlates of cognitive processing in ADHD males; Bruce R. Dunn, U. of W. FL, Michael T. Mckay, of West FL and United States Navy presented a test of bimodal theory using an EEG-based model of cognitive processing style; Martha A. Alcock, Michael Torello, Capital University, and Paul J. Nour, Miskingum College, explored interdisciplinary neurocognitive research at liberal arts colleges
  • The Brain and Cognition: Implications for Education and Assessment/ Roundtables included Martha D. Davis, Doris Giles, U. of SC, on using multimedia to uncover the secrets of the brain; Carolyn Orange, University of Texas, San Antonio, investigated effects of nutrasweet and caffeine on memory; Laura Gaudet, U. of Wisconsin, Platteville, and Steven Pulos, U. of Northern Colorado, reported development of a self-report symptom inventory with psychosocial concerns of traumatic brain-injured individuals; Delores D. Liston, Georgia Southern University, presented changing our minds as a struggle to present a philosophical and spiritual analysis of neuroscience research

1997: Brain and Education (Chicago)  

  • Brain Research and Educational Practice/ Roundtables included Lynette R. Schaverien, U. of Technology, Sidney, presented neo-Darwinian view of learning and value for science and science education; Deborah Zolot, New York University, Larry Hess, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, investigated cognitive assessment of Asperger’s Syndrome in an inner-city adolescent male; Paul Stemmer, Madonna University, discussed improving student motor integration by use of an interactive metronome; Bobbye Fry, Abilene Christian University, explored parallel paradigms with implication for neuropsychological research on pedagogical practices
  • From Brain Research to Educational Practice/ Chair Matha Alcock, Capital University. Presenters Denise Dunn, Bruce Dunn, Frank Andrasik, U. of W. FL, and Patricia Garrett-Peters, U. of Maryland discussed attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and sentence processing; Marlin Languis, Ohio State U., presented on understanding and coping with HDHD; Anne Hauson, U. of British Columbia, considered implications of recent neuroscience for curriculum decision-making; David Andrews, Keene State College, asked what does brain research tell educators with metaphor and mandate; Martha Alcock and Michael Torello, both of Capital University, were discussants
  • Membership meeting was chaired by Denise Dunn, U. of W. Florida; session included discussion of ethical considerations in special education for issues and cases by Peter Horn, Ohio State University and Capital University; respondents were Martha Alcock and Michael Torello, Capital University

1998: Brain and Education (San Diego)  

  • Neuroscience and Education: What are the Implications of Brain Research for Educators? Chair Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU in Fresno. Participants John Polich, The Scripps Research Institute, on electric thoughts and the brain; Larry R. Squire, VA Medical Center, San Diego, discussed memory systems of the brain; Joan Stiles, UC, San Diego, on rethinking neural plasticity in cognitive development following early brain injury
  • Business Meeting and Excursion to Electrophysiology Laboratory/ Chair Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno, Secretary Kim McNeley, UMKC School of Medicine, treasurer Delores Liston, Georgia Southern University, membership Martha Alcock, Capital University, program co-chairs David Andrews of Keene State College and Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno. Presenter John Polich, The Scripps Research Institute, offered a pre excursion overview of cognitive electrophysiology laboratory at The Scripps followed by an on-site tour and reception
  • Roundtables: Brain and Education/ Martha Alcock, Capital University, discussed psychological type, brain behavior relationships, and middle-school case studies; Michael Carbonaro, U. of Alberta, presented implications of neural network modeling for educational research

1999: Brain and Education (Montreal)  

  • Brain Research and Its Implications for Education Theory and Practice/ Chair Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno. Participants: Paul Gold, University of Virginia, discussed nutritional and hormonal influences on learning and memory in rodents and humans; Elissa Kido, Webster University, Robert Crafton, Slippery Rock University, Daniel Kido, Washington University and K. Kuppusamy reported imaging cognitive complexity with a fMRI study on math and language functions; Michael Cowson, University of Alabama, George Adelman, MIT, Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama, asked what can neuroscience and education learn from each other. Discussant was George G. Hruby, University of Georgia.
  • Business Meeting/ Chair Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno; Kim McNeley, UMKC School of Medicine; membership chair/treasurer, Martha Alcock, Capital University; George Hruby, program chair, U. of GA. Guest speakers were Martha Al. Alcock, Elizabeth Murphy, Capital University, on researching connections between developing personality preferences and electrophysiological brain patterns
  • Roundtables: Brain and Education/ Clyde Winters, Uthman dan Fodio Institute/Chicago Board of Education discussed potential impact of the neurobiological knowledge base on the education of learning disabled; Marie V. Simonsson, U. of Texas Pan American presented on cognitive aspects of stress during hypothetical conflict resolution tasks; George G. Hruby, U. of GA, pondered the ecologically situated, Darwinian brain; M. Suzanne Moodly, Auburn U., discussed problem solving strategies used on the Mental Rotations Test; Paul H. Gathercoal, CA Luthern U., reported on endorphins and media messages which might be implicated in addicting students to mediated violence and emotion

2000: Brain and Education (New Orleans)  

  • Roundtables: Brain and Education/ Eunsook Hyun, Florida Gulf Coast University, discussed ecological brain and young children’s naturalist intelligence from the perspective of developmentally and culturally appropriate practice; Kim McNeley, U. of Missouri, Kansas City, presented evidence of multiple-choice questions’ engagement of higher-order processing through cortical activity correlates; Rick Banghart, Michigan State University, considered from evolutionary to educational psychology
  • Insights for Education from the Neurosciences was chaired by Carol Fry Bohlin, CSU, Fresno. George W. Hruby, U. of Georgia, discussed how reading ability/disability is related to brain variation; Ruben Gur, University of Pennsylvania, asked if exercising your brain is like exercising your muscles, following with implications for education of similarities and differences [also discussed changes in brain physiology with age by gender]; Raquel Gur, University of Penn., reported study of the processing of emotions in the brain and implications for teaching [and identifying latent structures for] emotional behavior
  • Meeting of the Brains: Business Meeting. George H. Hruby, U. of GA, chair; secretary Kim McNeley, U. of Missouri, Kansas City; treasurer Teresa Rosse, Nebraska State DOE. Special presentation made on behalf of new government funding for interdisciplinary work including brain research** Diket elected program chair

2001: Brain and Education (Seattle)  

  • Multiple Intelligence and Student Achievement/ Participants William Calvin, U. of Washington, Mindy Kornhaber, Harvard University studied multiple intelligence in the lab and in the field, initiating a dialogue between neuroscience and classroom achievement. Discussants Branton Shearer and George Hruby
  • How and What We Know About How and What We Know: Three Neuroscience Perspectives on Language and Learning: Chair was George Hruby, U. of GA; Participants James Hamos, U. of Massachusetts Medical School, explained how and what whe know …from a neuroanatomical perspective; Michael Posner, Cornell University, considered educating the human brain from a cognitive neuroscience perspective; Alec Marantz, MIT, considered language and learning from a computational neuroscience perspective. Overflow crowd attended session.
  • Meeting of the Brains: Business Meeting: George Hruby, U. of GA, chaired session. Participants were James Homos, U. of Massachusetts Medical School; Michael Posner, Cornell University; Alec Marantz, MIT. Diket selected president-elect for 2002, continuing as program chair; Michael Atherton to assist program chair
  • Brain Imaging Technology and Education: Issues and Evidence: Chair was Read M. Diket, William Carey College. Participants, Robert Crafton, Slippery Rock University, Elissa Kido, Webster University, Michael Hulsizer, Webster University investigated mapping sensory preferences with fMRI; Michael Atherton, University of Minnesota, authored paper with William M. Bart, University of Minnesota, presenting education and fMRI, its promise and cautions; Clyde A. Winters, Governor State University and Chicago Board of Education, proffered brain-based teaching as fad or promising teaching method; Barbara Ohlund, Iowa State University, with Samuel DiGangi, Arizona State University, Angel Jannasch, Arizona State, presented an investigation of the reliability and validity of theta/beta ration measurement

2002: Brain and Education (New Orleans)  

  • Naturalizing neuroscience: Cognition and learning in humans and other natural organisms: Chair was George Hruby, University of Georgia. Participants Owen Flanagan, Duke University, explored neuroscience and naturalized epistemology; Marc Bekoff, U. of Colorado, Boulder, on animal emotions, naturalizing the study of passionate natures; Patricia Churchland, U. of California, San Diego, presenting on neuroscience and naturalized psychology
  • Diverse perspectives: educational neuroscience and cognitive ethology/ Chair Read M. Diket, William Carey College. Participants Michael Atherton, William M. Bart, U. of Minn., on what the neurosciences can tell educators about reading and arithmetic (review of current research); Carolyn A. Ristau, Barnard College of Columbia University, discussed what chimps who imitate and chat reveal about purpose; Donna Rosenberry, Ronald R. Morgan, Loyola University Chicago, presented an investigation of the behavioral manifestations of elementary-aged children with agenesis of the corpus callosum
  • Business Meeting, chaired by George Hruby, U. of GA; elected Michael Atherton program chair; also elected secretary-treasurer; Diket takes over as president

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the AERA.


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