Will This Actually Help Make the Case for Study Abroad—Never Mind for Scientific Inquiry or for Higher Education?


Researchers at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, are reportedly studying student brain scans in order to determine how study abroad impacts brain function. According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education [http://chronicle.com/article/One-College-s-Method-to/230661/], the researchers have scanned the brains of 30 freshmen and will re-scan their brains when they are juniors and just after they graduate, tracking ten categories of brain activity.

Whether this study is actually a crackpot idea or not, it certainly is going to sound like a crackpot idea to most people.

Moreover, it does not take much imagination to envision the responses from the “lunatic fringe” media and social media. These will almost certainly include dire warnings that traveling abroad may actually change how your brain functions–in much the same way that “brainwashing” or cerebral implants are supposed to do so, creating the potential for all sorts of nefarious schemes hatched by foreigners…

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