6 Myths about Neuroscience and Psychology that Many Teachers Believe

Many teachers believe common myths about the brain. This is probably because simple explanations are attractive.The results were found by research with teachers in the United Kingdom, Turkey, the Netherlands, Greece and China, reported in the journal  Nature Reviews Neuroscience  (  Howard-Jones, 2014  ).

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1. Myth: right brain / left brain

About 70% of teachers believe that a person has a “right brain” or “left brain”.

Evidence from more than 1,000 functional MRI brain scans has already discredited this myth that people have “right brain” or “left brain” personalities.

2. Myth: You use only 10% of your brain

About half of the teachers believed in the myth that people use only 10% of the brain’s capacity. ( Raulzito also believed ).

This is a very enduring and attractive myth, perhaps because it is comforting to think that we have idle capacity in the brain, or that we have untapped potential.

What would it be like to use 100% of the brain’s capacity? Lucy gives an interesting answer:

Outside of fiction, this myth is used, for example, to sell products to increase brain performance and as an explanation for the ability to fold cutlery according to mediums like Yuri Geller.


3. Myth: Sugar reduces attention

About 50% of respondents believed that after eating snacks or drinking sugary drinks, children became less attentive. This myth probably stems from the weak links found in early research relating sugar consumption and ADHD. This link is unproven and, at best, weak.

4. Myth: learning styles

More than 90% of teachers believe that there are “preferred” learning styles: auditory, kinesthetic or visual. According to this idea, students learn better if they are taught according to their preferred learning style.

For example, if a person wanted to learn Psychology:

  • a person with a visual learning style learns best by watching, watching (in this case, watching the videos on our YouTube channel );
  • a person with an auditory learning style would learn better by listening (in this case, listening to our podcast  )

However, however, however, yet… there is no scientific evidence for this and there is no scientific evidence that there is better learning through teaching adapted to individual auditory, kinesthetic or visual learning styles.

Very often I see people repeating this myth out there, and probably you too.

5. Myth: the shrinkage of the brain due to lack of water

About 25% of teachers believe that if people don’t drink six to eight glasses of water a day, their brains will shrink.

Is not true.

6. Myth: Exercise improves communication between the cerebral hemispheres

About 2/3 of the teachers believed that a short period of exercise improves communication between the brain’s hemispheres.

In reality, there is no evidence that exercise in this way can help transfer information between hemispheres.

This is a claim that is simply unfounded.


… And more neuromyths

Some other myths that some teachers believed in:

  • rich environments stimulate the minds of preschoolers (it’s a myth),
  • Regularly drinking caffeinated beverages  decreases  alertness (myth!),
  • learning problems   cannot   be alleviated by education (a myth endorsed by about 1 in 7 teachers)

Dr. Paul Howard-Jones, author of the study, said:

“These ideas are often sold to teachers as being based on neuroscience – but modern neuroscience cannot be used to support them.

These ideas have no educational value and are often associated with poor classroom practice


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