Mitigating Against Neurophobia in a Cohort of Undergraduate Science Students

Jess Ogilvie, Vanessa Hayes, Amanda Meyer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Neuroanatomy is considered one of the most challenging anatomical topics for students. The perceived difficulty of neuroanatomy can cause anxiety in students which may impact academic performance. As understanding three‐dimensional (3D) relationships has been identified as a barrier to learning, a 3D‐printed brainstem and cerebellar model was used as a resource to potentially reduce student anxiety and enhance learning. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred four students enrolled in the unit ANHB2217 Human Neurobiology took part in the study (3D‐printed model: n = 33; control: n = 62). The 3D‐printed model group had unlimited access to models for 12 weeks. Standardized surveys were used to measure global and neuroanatomy‐specific perceived anxiety. Baseline knowledge and retention tests were administered. A third survey was developed to measure students' perceptions of the model's effectiveness in reducing anxiety and enhancing learning (n = 20). RESULTS: Global and neuroanatomy‐specific anxiety did not differ between the control and model groups (P > 0.05). Similarly, baseline knowledge, mid‐semester examination, and final grade did not differ between the groups (P > 0.05). Those who used the model agreed that it engaged and prompted self‐quizzing of neuroanatomy material (P < 0.01). All participants who used the model agreed that the model did not reduce their anxiety regarding neuroanatomy material. Only one of the respondents felt that the model decreased anxiety regarding neuroanatomy assessments. CONCLUSION: The 3D model had no significant effect in this cohort on reported anxiety or knowledge levels as measured by assessments. Nevertheless, feedback indicated that the model could be useful in prompting study and engagement in neuroanatomy content.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event15th Annual Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists: Advances in Human Biology – Education, Research and Technology - College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
Duration: 2 Dec 20185 Dec 2018


Conference15th Annual Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists
Abbreviated titleANZACA


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitigating Against Neurophobia in a Cohort of Undergraduate Science Students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this