ERIC Number: ED394844
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Investigating the Disney Effect: Are Students Reluctant To Apply Natural Selection Principles to Life Forms with Which They Identify?
Jensen, Murray; And Others
This study was designed to investigate whether a student's responses to test questions about natural selection were influenced by the extent of the student's identification with the organism. The hypothesis was that a student would be reluctant to invoke the ravages of natural selection upon species with which they possessed a greater empathy than upon species about which they cared less strongly. College students (n=130) in a general biology course at a major research university were administered a twelve-item multiple choice test after the evolution instructional unit had been completed to assess their understandings of natural selection, The test consisted of six parallel items with the difference between parallel items being only in the type of organism described. Analyses were conducted to evaluate whether students made disproportionately greater errors on those items describing organisms with which they more closely identified. Results show that approximately 20% of students' responses were correct on one of two parallel test items demonstrating a substantial number of students responding in a discrepant manner. The students were presented with lists of organisms and asked to rank their relative regard for the organisms. The preference rankings were cross-tabulated with scores on the test items; however, the preference rankings failed to explain the discrepancies in students' responses. The data do not support the existence of a Disney effect. One version of the test is included in an appendix. Contains 15 references (Author/JRH)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (St. Louis, MO, April, 1996).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A