Nealen Leads Local Elementary Students Through Neuroscience Peer Review

Posted on 3/29/2019 9:24:03 AM

As part of efforts to support Brain Awareness Week, an international campaign to give elementary school students access to neuroscience, Paul Nealen (Biology) led sixth- to eighth-grade students at St. Bernard Regional School through peer review of a manuscript describing cognitive strategies for conducting visual searches. The manuscript was written to present a “core concept” in neuroscience: how the brain parses visual input in order to efficiently guide visual searches for objects.

The students first learned about the process and importance of peer review, and then tested their ability to perform visual searches as a function of the number of cues available. They also compared categorical vs. template-based searches, as well as the utility of central versus peripheral vision during visual searches.

During manuscript review, the students provided a wealth of feedback for the authors of the manuscript, advising them on possible clarifications and making recommendations for improvements to the illustrations. The students’ review was submitted to the Young Minds section of the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal series, for which Nealen is both a review editor and a science mentor.

Brain Awareness Week is organized and sponsored by the Dana Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants, publications, and educational programs. The Frontiers for Young Minds journal (“science for kids, edited by kids”) is produced by Frontiers Media, a leading publisher of open-access scientific research. The Frontiers for Young Minds journal series aims to present current science topics to elementary-school students.

Department of Biology