Abby Beck is a mobile app project manager for Stryker Spine and an adjunct instructor for University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She earned her M.S in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and B.S. in Business Administration from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research is split between simulation-based learning and urban planning for sustainability.
Dr. Doug Lombardi is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the College of Education, Temple University. Dr. Lombardi earned his PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a MS in Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a licensed physical science, physics, and mathematics teacher, with a variety of classroom, professional development, and education and public outreach experience. His research is on the role of judgments and reasoning about scientific topics, and developing instructional materials and practices that help students think scientifically about controversial topics, such as climate change. His work has been published in Learning and Instruction, The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, International Journal of Science Education, The Science Teacher, The Earth Scientist, and Research in Science Teaching.
Dr. Gale M. Sinatra is a Professor of Education and Psychology at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the past Editor of the APA Division 15 journal, Educational Psychologist. She is past Vice President of AERA’s Division C, Learning and Instruction. She is a Fellow of both APA and AERA. She heads the Motivated Change Research Lab, the mission of which is understanding the cognitive, motivational, and emotional processes that lead to attitude change, conceptual change, and successful STEM learning, particularly of controversial topics. Sinatra’s model of conceptual change learning (see Sinatra, 2005) describes how motivational factors contribute to the likelihood that individuals will change their thinking about a scientific topic.
Climate Change Education: Warm Processes in Learning about a Hot Topic
The purpose of this colloquium is to present current research on how cognitive, motivational, emotional, and affective factors influence learning about and acceptance of climate. Dr. Gale Sinatra will first present an overview of three research areas that show promise for addressing challenges to public understanding of climate change: motivated reasoning, epistemic cognition, and conceptual change. Better understanding of these interrelated areas will help educators and science communicators address resistance, reframe messaging, overcome misconceptions, and promote understanding of climate change. Dr. Doug Lombardi and Dr. Viviane Seyranian will present a recent study examining how biases based on common group membership, specifically political party, resulted in statistical differences in undergraduates’ plausibility perceptions of climate change. This study found that when group membership was manipulated, both Republicans and Democrats found that claims attributed to a Democratic author resulted in higher plausibility perceptions. Robert Danielson will present research on the influence of relevant contextual cues (labels or anchoring effects) on judgments and understanding of graphical information. His study specifically examined the influence of context effects on adult’s perceptions of the famous “hockey stick graph.” Neil Young will discuss a study that investigated the degree of care about several consequences of climate change. His study demonstrated that undergraduate students care much more about some consequences (e.g., increased food prices) than others (e.g., melting permafrost). Abby Beck, Dr. Krystyna Stave, and Chris Galvan will present research on how a poor understanding of accumulation dynamics presents challenges for addressing climate change. Their study reports on the use of simulation based learning environments that increase undergraduates’ stock-flow behavior understanding, and knowledge of and concern about climate change.