AUTHORS: Denervaud S, Fornari E, Yang X-F, Hagmann P, Immordino-Yang MH, Sander D

npj Science of Learning, 5(11): , July 2020


The development of error monitoring is central to learning and academic achievement. However, few studies exist on the neural correlates of children’s error monitoring, and no studies have examined its susceptibility to educational influences. Pedagogical methods differ on how they teach children to learn from errors. Here, 32 students (aged 8–12 years) from high-quality Swiss traditional or Montessori schools performed a math task with feedback during fMRI. Although the groups’ accuracies were similar, Montessori students skipped fewer trials, responded faster and showed more neural activity in right parietal and frontal regions involved in math processing. While traditionally-schooled students showed greater functional connectivity between the ACC, involved in error monitoring, and hippocampus following correct trials, Montessori students showed greater functional connectivity between the ACC and frontal regions following incorrect trials. The findings suggest that pedagogical experience influences the development of error monitoring and its neural correlates, with implications for neurodevelopment and education.

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