The Hidden Curriculum and Anatomy Education

Frederic W Hafferty, Gabrielle Maria Finn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Social scientists have long been interested in the impact of anatomy and the dissection experience on the professional formation of medicals students. In this chapter, we will examine the function and framing of anatomy lab and cadaver dissection as a pedagogical space (for faculty) and learning environment (for students)—and do so using the analytical lens of the hidden curriculum. We will begin with a brief look at how lab has been characterized by both social scientists and medical trainees using a variety of resources including academic reference materials and physician autobiographies. With this as our foundation, we then will introduce the hidden curriculum as an analytical tool to broaden and deepen our understandings of the various types of learning that take place in anatomy. Within this context, we will highlight anatomy as a source of occupational socialization and professional formation. We also will reference, but not review, the spate of new teaching tools now being used in anatomy teaching in order to link these tools to hidden curriculum issues. We conclude with a challenge for anatomy educators as to how they might encourage other basic sciences courses to build upon their innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Anatomy
Subtitle of host publicationA practical guide
PublisherSpringer London
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783319089294
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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