There has been increasing concern that qualitative educational research is lacking in a scientific “evidence-based” foundation. When data consist primarily of “talk-aloud” reports of questionable reliability, and cognitive models remain analytical or speculative in nature, how robust can qualitative research into subjective mentalities be? This page details an educational neuroscience and mixed research initiative to augment qualitative studies in cognitive modeling using methods of cognitive neuroscience and other psychophysical metrics.

The continuing exponential growth of knowledge in cognitive neuroscience is forming a solid scientific evidence-based foundation for significant advances in educational practice. The label "educational neuroscience" has recently emerged and is being widely used to identify this new field of study. Educational neuroscience is conceived here as an important foundational new area of educational research, and one that is most readily informed by, and able to inform, cognitive neuroscience. There is general agreement that educational research in cognitive psychology is well suited to form a foundation for educational neuroscience.

Our program of research in mathematical cognition and learning is grounded in an area of cognitive psychology known as cognitive modeling, with a central focus on schema theory. In synthesizing philosophical, cognitive psychological, and educational research in this area, We apply schema theory in modeling preservice teachers' mathematical understandings and anxieties. The question is: How might this kind of research relate to and form foundations for research in educational neuroscience?

Methods of cognitive neuroscience and psychophysics, such as electroencephalograph (EEG), eye-tracking (ET), and electrocardiograph (EKG), provide excellent potential for operationalizing cognitive constructs used in the course of cognitive modeling.