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ERIC Number: EJ1004004
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0272-930X
Tuition vs. Intuition: Effects of Instruction on Naive Theories of Evolution
Shtulman, Andrew; Calabi, Prassede
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, v59 n2 Article 3 p141-167 Apr 2013
Recent research suggests that a major obstacle to evolution understanding is an essentialist view of the biological world. The present study investigated the effects of formal biology instruction on such misconceptions. Participants (N = 291) completed an assessment of their understanding of six aspects of evolution (variation, inheritance, adaptation, domestication, speciation, and extinction) before and after one of six evolutionary-themed courses. Most participants demonstrated pervasive misconceptions at both pretest and posttest. A subset, however, demonstrated reliable pre-post gains, and they differed from their peers in that they (a) began the semester with significantly less accurate, yet significantly more consistent, views of evolution, and (b) ended the semester with significantly less consistent, yet significantly more accurate, views of evolution. These findings indicate that naive theories of evolution, while generally resistant to change, are less resistant the more consistent they are, possibly because consistency highlights limitations in their explanatory power and inferential scope. (Contains 2 tables and 3 figures.)
Wayne State University Press. The Leonard N. Simons Building, 4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309. Tel: 800-978-7323; Fax: 313-577-6131; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts