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Neural Bottom-up and Top-down Processes in Learning and Teaching

Theresa Schilhab


Contemporary neuroscience perspectives on cognition allow for detailed understanding of the co-activity of unconscious, automatic 'bottom-up' processes and conscious 'topdown' processes. In this theoretical article I argue that by using direct experiences or metaphors, teachers can manipulate the neural foundation bottom-up or topdown so as to influence learning, giving teachers the conceptual tools they need to understand how specific measures - instructional and experiential teaching, as well as linguistic explanations - may work. The article thus describes how embodied cognitive approaches may be effective for teaching and learning and thus contribute to a new exchange between theoreticians and educational practitioners.


Key words: Neural correlate; concept; metaphor; direct experience; attention; top-down; bottom-up; Executive Function; derived embodiment.

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