Open lecture with Associate Professor John Coley: Intuitive Thinking and Science Education: Biology and Beyond
The research group ComPros at Department of Special Needs Education is hosting an open lecture on intuitive thinking and learning with Psychology Professor John Coley, Northeastern University.
People spontaneously develop informal, intuitive explanations of plants, animals, and biological processes. For most everyday purposes, such intuitive thinking is a fast, accurate, and adaptive way to navigate through the complexities of the world. However, intuitive thinking can lead to systematic and deeply rooted misconceptions in the context of STEM education. John Coley and colleagues have built a cross-disciplinary program of research examining systematic linkages between intuitive biological thinking and difficulties in teaching and learning biological science.
They argue that biological misconceptions may stem not solely from the complexity or opacity of the concepts themselves, but from the fact that they may clash with informal, intuitive, and deeply held ways of understanding the world. Subsequently they propose that understanding the intuitive conceptual systems humans use more generally to reason about biology in informal contexts may be critical for understanding the process by which university students learn biological science in a formal educational setting.
About the speaker
Professor Coley is interested in the basic cognitive processes underlying how people organize what they know about the world, and how they use what they know to make guesses about what they don’t know. He’s also interested in how those processes develop and change over time, and how differences in culture and experience influence them. Finally, he’s interested in the practical, concrete consequences of conceptual organization and reasoning in areas like education, social conflict, and global climate change.