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Brain data: Scanning, scraping and sculpting the plastic learning brain through neurotechnology

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-86
Number of pages22
JournalPostdigital Science and Education
Issue number1
Early online date14 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


Neurotechnology is an advancing field of research and development with significant implications for education. As ‘postdigital’ hybrids of biological and informational codes, novel neurotechnologies combine neuroscience insights into the human brain with advanced technical development in brain imaging, brain-computer interfaces, neurofeedback platforms, brain stimulation and other neuroenhancement applications. Merging neurobiological knowledge about human life with computational technologies, neurotechnology exemplifies how postdigital science will play a significant role in societies and education in decades to come. As neurotechnology developments are being extended to education, they present potential for businesses and governments to enact new techniques of ‘neurogovernance’ by ‘scanning’ the brain, ‘scraping’ it for data and then ‘sculpting’ the brain toward particular capacities. The aim of this article is to critically review neurotechnology developments and implications for education. It examines the purposes to which neurotechnology development is being put in education, interrogating the commercial and governmental objectives associated with it and the neuroscientific concepts and expertise that underpin it. Finally, the article raises significant ethical and governance issues related to neurotechnology development and postdigital science that require concerted attention from education researchers.

    Research areas

  • biosocial, brain, data, neuroscience, neurotechnology, postdigital science

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