Research Projects at the CORE Lab

Research on Biology Education

The CORE lab’s research on biology education spans many topics, with the overall goal of better understanding how we view and understand the natural world to improve education. A major focus of the research is how our intuitive biases may interact with formal biology education and the impacts of this. 

The Impact of Anthropocentric Thinking in Biology Education

Doctoral student Catie Nielson leads research on how human-centric thinking may impact understanding of biological concepts.

Understanding COVID-19 Misconceptions

The CORE lab and collaborators work to understand COVID-19 misconceptions in both adults and children.

Cognitive Construal-Consistent Instructor Language in the Undergraduate Biology Classroom

Researchers investigated frequency of cognitive-construal language used by biology instructors at the undergraduate level. 

Research on Ecological Cognition

Ecological cognition refers to the study of how humans perceive their relationship with the natural world and the implications this may have on behavior. The CORE lab’s research on this subject is important to better understand how to shift people’s perspectives towards more pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. 

Human-Nature Relationships and Implications for Land-Water System Conservation

The CORE lab seeks to answer the question: “How do people view the relationship between humans and nature in urban waterways, and how does this affect environmental investment and stewardship?”

Development of Conceptual Flexibility in Intuitive Biology: Effects of Environment and Experience in Frontiers in Psychology

Research examining how developmental and experiential exposure to the environment could shape children’s conceptual flexibility in intuitively inducting biological relations.

Research on Social Categories

Research on social categories focuses on how we perceive and categorize groups of people similar and different to us. Studying this concept gives us better insight into how prejudices arise and potential differences between cultural groups. 

Role of Culture in Racial Essentialism and Facial Recognition Memory

Research on differences between White Americans and Asian/Asian Americans in essentializing ingroups and outgroups.

How Essentialist Beliefs about National Groups Differ by Cultural Origin and Study Abroad Experience

Research on whether young adults growing up in the U.S. and China show different patterns of essentialist thinking about national groups, and how study-abroad experience may change this.

Research on History Education and Structural Reasoning

Related to research on social categories, the CORE lab also has research specifically on history education and how different methods of education may impact understandings of historical events, social groups, and more in the history classroom. In particular, structural reasoning, which emphasizes external reasons in explaining certain concepts, may be an effective strategy in reducing prejudice compared to internalist or essentialist reasoning. 

Social Disparities and Social Essentialism

Research led by doctoral student Emma Pitt focuses on how essentialism towards social groups in both children and adults may affect the perception of social disparities and contribute to prejudice.