Educational fMRI: From the Lab to the Classroom

Mohamed L. Seghier, Mohamed A. Fahim, Claudine Habak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Functional MRI (fMRI) findings hold many potential applications for education, and yet, the translation of fMRI findings to education has not flowed. Here, we address the types of fMRI that could better support applications of neuroscience to the classroom. This ‘educational fMRI’ comprises eight main challenges: (1) collecting artifact-free fMRI data in school-aged participants and in vulnerable young populations, (2) investigating heterogenous cohorts with wide variability in learning abilities and disabilities, (3) studying the brain under natural and ecological conditions, given that many practical topics of interest for education can be addressed only in ecological contexts, (4) depicting complex age-dependent associations of brain and behaviour with multi-modal imaging, (5) assessing changes in brain function related to developmental trajectories and instructional intervention with longitudinal designs, (6) providing system-level mechanistic explanations of brain function, so that useful individualized predictions about learning can be generated, (7) reporting negative findings, so that resources are not wasted on developing ineffective interventions, and (8) sharing data and creating large-scale longitudinal data repositories to ensure transparency and reproducibility of fMRI findings for education. These issues are of paramount importance to the development of optimal fMRI practices for educational applications.

Original languageBritish English
Article number2769
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2019


  • application
  • classroom
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • education
  • functional neuroimaging
  • reliability
  • translation
  • variability


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