The Views of Educational Psychologists about Neuroscience: A Discourse Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Hussain, Tamara 2012. The Views of Educational Psychologists about Neuroscience: A Discourse Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsHussain, Tamara
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The field of neuroscience has received more and more publicity over recent
years, specifically by its claims to contribute to the understanding of childrens'
learning, education and development. However, progress in neuroscience
findings and its links with education have also been subject to controversy,
particularly with regard to how far the brain can inform understanding of social
processes. While educational psychologists have been identified as a discipline
potentially central to the debates about neuroscience (Hall, 2004), little research
has yet investigated the views of educational psychologists about the value or
relevance of this field in their discipline.
This research presents an analysis of views of ten educational psychologists
from two Local Authority services. The researcher carried out semi-structured
interviews and analysed the data using two approaches from the Discourse
Analytic tradition. Methods from Discursive Psychology and Foucauldian
Discourse Analysis were used to investigate how educational psychologists
discursively constructed the role of neuroscience in their discipline.
The combination of research tools yielded rich interview data. Ten discursive
sites were identified. Neuroscience was simultaneously viewed and identified
discursively as the Identification of Pathology or Deficit, an Additional
Explanatory Model, A Challenge to the Social Constructionist Worldview, and
Knowledge for Responsibility and Duty. Implications of these findings for
Educational Psychology practice are discussed. The prevalence of professional
eclecticism in the discipline was evident. Reference to educational
psychologists’ frameworks and models for practice were notable and was
considered as points for discussion. Educational psychologists’ constructions
gave rise to a variety of different subject positions, and therefore the actions
that are made possible by these positions. Methodological issues are also
considered, together with suggestions for future research.

KeywordsNeuroscience; Discourse Analytic tradition; Methodological issues
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Apr 2013
Publisher's version
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