Neuromyths and special education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroscience as a field of study has the potential to inform education and special education. Currently there are many education practices and programs, particularly those promoted by educational entrepreneurs under the banner of brain-based teaching and learning, claiming support from neuroscience. This article identifies some current neuromyths, or mistaken beliefs, about the brain. Some of these beliefs have been used to justify elements of commercial educational materials and professional development programs. Popular neuromyths include critical periods for learning, left brain/ right brain dominance, the Mozart effect and aspects of some learning styles theories and perceptual motor programs. The reasons why teachers are susceptible to neuromyths is explored and a call is made for teachers and education departments to become more scientifically literate. The author concludes that the wide range of effective practices for learners with special needs, which have been developed by special education researchers, should be preferred over unfounded fads and brain-based teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalSpecial Education Perspectives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Cognitive style
  • Constructivism (Learning)
  • Mythology
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience
  • Special education
  • Special needs students
  • Teaching methods


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