The potential of biophysiology for understanding learning and teaching experiences

We are interested in the links between biophysiology and perceptions, beliefs and behaviours students and teachers have in real-time educational contexts. Modern technology affords user-friendly and cost-efficient ways of collecting self-reports (e.g., apps, iPads) and objective measures of biophysiology using unobtrusive wearable devices (e.g., heartrate monitors, accelerometers). While some measures (e.g., movement) may have a direct value for educational research, other measures (e.g., heart rate) are usually seen as proxies for underlying psychological processes such as stress or other affective responses. Ultimately, using biophysiological measures will enable us to focus on how “mind” and “body” function in interplay in education. 

EFG Activities

Each meeting invited presenters will cover a more conceptual issue and more technical issues as indicated below: 

Substantive questions

(1) To what extent and in what ways does biophysiology predict learning experiences, or

learning experiences predict biophysiological reactions, or both?

(2) To what degree can biophysiological measures serve as valid indicators for learning


Technical questions

(3) How do we collect, manage, process and analyze biophysiological data to link with learning

experience data and optimally inform educational processes?

(4) What different statistical methods we can use for analysis that each informs distinct aspects

of educational learning processes?

  • Meeting 1 - Winter 2018/19
    Utrecht, NL:  heart-rate and electrodermal activity
  • Meeting 2 - June 2019
    Oxford, UK: accelerometer measures of activity and rest
  • Meeting 3 - Winter 2019/20
    Jyväskylä, FI:  cortisol stress measures



Lars-Erik Malmberg (Oxford, UK)


Tim Mainhard (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Eija Pakarinen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Lucia Mason (University of Padova, Italy)

Sara Scrimin (University of Padova, Italy)

Andrew Martin (University of New South Wales, Australia)

Joel Pearson (University of New South Wales, Australia)