Human teaching is a social interaction that supports reciprocal and dynamical feedback between the teacher and the student. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a region of particular interest due to its demonstrated role in social interaction. In the present study, we evaluated the PFC activity simultaneously in two individuals playing the role of a teacher and student in a video game teaching-learning task. For that, we used two wearable near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) devices in order to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive interactions between teachers and students. Fifteen teacher-student pairs in total (N = 30) participated in this study. Each teacher was instructed to teach the video game to their student partner, without speaking. The PFC activity was simultaneously evaluated in both participants using a wearable 16-channel NIRS system during the video game teaching-learning task. Two sessions, each including a triplet of a 30-s teaching-learning task, were performed in order to evaluate changes in PFC activity after advancement of teaching-learning state. Changes in the teachers' left PFC activity between the first and second session positively correlated with those observed in students (r = 0.694, p = 0.004). Moreover, among teachers, multiple regression analysis revealed a correlation between the left PFC activity and the assessment gap between one's own teaching and the student's understanding (β = 0.649, p = 0.009). Activity in the left PFC changed synchronously in both teachers and students after advancement of the teaching-learning state. The left PFC of teachers may be involved in integrating information regarding one's own teaching process and the student's learning state. The present observations indicate that simultaneous recording and analysis of brain activity data during teacher-student interactions may be useful in the field of educational neuroscience.
Takeuchi, N., Mori, T., Suzukamo, Y., & Izumi, S. I. (2017). Integration of teaching processes and learning assessment in the prefrontal cortex during a video game teaching-learning task. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(JAN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02052