Bridging the gap between cognitive neuroscience and education: psychophysiological and behavioral data collection in authentic contexts

EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH

Julien MERCIER, Pierre-Majorique LÉGER, Caroline GIRARD, and Jan-Sébastien DION

Psychophysiological correlates of learning and performance are currently viewed as an important source of information for the improvement of many spheres of human activity, including the field of education. Studies in neuroeducation are likely to benefit from the concomitant analysis of different levels in the cognitive architecture (psychophysiological, cognitive, and social cognitive). The case study reported herein is concerned with the psychophysiological and cognitive levels. The objective is to test a methodology permitting, on the one hand, to relate data from EEG and data from a think- aloud procedure collected simultaneously during the performance of a problem- solving task in a semantically-complex domain and, on the other hand, to test hypotheses regarding functional relationships between those levels. During a two-hour experiment, a single participant planned remedial reading activities on the basis of a description of a student having reading difficulties. The procedure for data preparation is presented. Then, as an illustration of the methodology, hypotheses involving both levels are tested. Results show that the methodology can establish correlational relations between targeted levels in terms of co- occurrence of cognitive and psychophysiological states. They also show that an EEG trace transformed into 1-second intervals characterizing brain states is not sufficiently fine-grained to test causal relationships based on the temporality of the data. This study stresses the need to explore the phenomenon of rapidly- transitioning psychophysiological microstates in the context of neuroeducational research.

Mercier, J., Léger, P.-M., Girard, C., & Dion, J.-S. (2012). Bridging the gap between cognitive neuroscience and education: Psychophysiological and behavioral data collection in authentic contexts. Neuroeducation, 1(1), 5-28.   [PDF]