Brain-to-brain synchrony and learning outcomes vary by student–teacher dynamics: Evidence from a real-world classroom electroencephalography study

Dana Bevilacqua, Ido Davidesco, Lu Wan, Kim Chaloner, Jess Rowland, Mingzhou Ding, David Poeppel, Suzanne Dikker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

How does the human brain support real-world learning? We used wireless electroencephalography to collect neurophysiological data from a group of 12 senior high school students and their teacher during regular biology lessons. Six scheduled classes over the course of the semester were organized such that class materials were presented using different teaching styles (videos and lectures), and students completed a multiple-choice quiz after each class to measure their retention of that lesson's content. Both students' brain-to-brain synchrony and their content retention were higher for videos than lectures across the six classes. Brain-to-brain synchrony between the teacher and students varied as a function of student engagement as well as teacher likeability: Students who reported greater social closeness to the teacher showed higher brain-to-brain synchrony with the teacher, but this was only the case for lectures—that is, when the teacher is an integral part of the content presentation. Furthermore, students' retention of the class content correlated with student–teacher closeness, but not with brain-to-brain synchrony. These findings expand on existing social neuroscience research by showing that social factors such as perceived closeness are reflected in brain-to-brain synchrony in real-world group settings and can predict cognitive outcomes such as students' academic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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