Can the Differences Between Education and Neuroscience be Overcome by Mind, Brain, and Education?


Boba M. Samuels, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, 1137 Western Road, London, Ontario, Canada N6G 1G7; e-mail:


ABSTRACT— The new field of Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE)—sometimes called educational neuroscience—is posited as a mediator between neuroscience and education. Several foundational concerns, however, can be raised about this emerging field. The differences between neuroscience and education are many, including differences in their histories, philosophies, and epistemologies. Historically, science and education have demonstrated separate, but interwoven, influences on society; philosophically, the values by which they operate are often in opposition; and epistemologically, the fields have relied on different conceptualizations of knowledge. Discussion about these differences has been largely absent in attempts to promote MBE. Two steps are proposed to respond to this omission. First, encouraging discussion about disciplinary differences and assumptions may enable better understanding between disciplines and facilitate the establishment of a more collaborative research community. Second, a transdisciplinary framework that focuses on salient issues of interest across disciplines should be considered. Transdisciplinarity aims for the creation of an inclusive research environment that transcends traditional disciplinary approaches to complex problems. This article initiates an exploration of disciplinary differences and proposes commitment to transdisciplinarity as a guiding principle that may increase the viability of MBE as a mediating field between neuroscience and education.