College of Liberal Arts

Psychology Professor Awarded NSF Grant to Study Children’s Scientific Reasoning

Wed, Sep 3, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas—Cristine Legare, associate professor of psychology, has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine the development of scientific reasoning. 

The $1.3 million grant will support Legare’s research titled “Explaining, Exploring and Scientific Reasoning in Museum Settings.” The project investigates how diverse samples of parents and children engage in explanation and exploration of scientific concepts in three children’s museums across the United States, including the Thinkery in Austin. Primary investigators include Maureen Callanan, of University of California Santa Cruz, and David Sobel, of Brown University.

In addition to uncovering patterns of family explanation and exploration, the researchers will measure children’s understanding of cause-and-effect relationships and builds on this knowledge base to develop and test effective interventions.

“Children’s museums are ideal environments for this research; they give us access to everyday activity and conversations of families, and they provide a natural laboratory for examining early science learning,” Legare says.

For more about Legare’s research, visit Life & Letters.

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