Source of article The Jury Room - Keene Trial Consulting.

As it happens, two recent articles address this question and share the neuromyths that even many educators believe. Here is a quick definition of what a neuromyth is:

“Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain research, many of which relate to learning and education.” 

Researchers have surveyed educators, the public and people who have completed neuroscience courses, to assess their belief in neuromyths. We will use a finding we read about earlier to help you remember that these myths are not true—they are (by definition) false. 

We are presenting these to you in the hope that if you, like many, think any of these neuromyths is true, you will learn that is not accurate. And we’ll make it easy on you. Here are some of the myths these two papers tell us (as does repeated research) are incorrect (read the papers in full for the entire list): 

FALSE: Children must be exposed to an enriched learning environment by age 3, or else learning capacities will be lost. FALSE

FALSE: Short bouts of motor coordination exercises can improve the integration of right and left hemispheres. FALSE

FALSE: We only use about 10% of our brain. FALSE

FALSE: Some people are left-brained, others are right-brained. FALSE

FALSE: Brain cells are joined together forming a huge set of nerves. FALSE

FALSE: We have five senses. FALSE 

FALSE: We have different learning styles and teaching that takes those styles into consideration is more effective. FALSE

FALSE: Couples dealing with infertility are more likely to get pregnant if they adopt. FALSE

FALSE: Dyslexia’s defining feature is letter reversal. FALSE

FALSE: Drilling a hole in the skull releases evil spirits. FALSE

Okay. That last one was just to make sure you were still paying attention. What is disturbing about many of these neuromyths is that even those who were educators or had specialized training in neuroscience still tended to think many of the tested myths were true. They are repeated so often that people tend to think they are still true (despite repeated efforts by scientists and researchers to debunk them). 

From a litigation advocacy perspective, it makes it VERY important to use trustworthy and credible expert witnesses on any factoid that “everybody knows” but which isn’t really true. Using graphics to debunk as done in the Atlantic article we referenced earlier could be useful for deliberating jurors. 

FALSE: Just be sure your expert does not quote Mark Twain who never said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” FALSE 

Furnham, A. 2018. Myths and misconceptions in developmental and neuro-psychology. Scientific Research Publishing, Psychology. Open access: 

Macdonald, K, Germine, L Anderson, A, Chrisodoulou, J McGrath, LM. 2017 Dispelling the myth: Training in education or neuroscience does not eliminate beliefs in neuromyths. Frontiers in Psychology. Open access: