Gale M. Sinatra

Gale M. Sinatra
University of Southern California | USC · Rossier School of Education

Ph.D. in Psychology

About

137
Publications
93,426
Reads
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7,881
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Gale Sinatra is a Professor of Education and Psychology at the Rossier School of Education at USC. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She spent 10 years on the faculty of University of Utah and 10 years as a professor of Educational Psychology at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She heads the Motivated Change Research Lab, the mission of which is understanding the motivational processes in STEM learning.
Additional affiliations
July 2010 - present
University of Southern California
Position
  • Professor of Psychology and Education
July 2000 - July 2010
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Position
  • Professor of Educational Psychology
July 1991 - July 2000
University of Utah
Position
  • Associate Professor of Education

Publications

Publications (137)
Article
The need for public understanding of science is especially critical in today’s society when citizens frequently confront complex, conflicting information on challenging topics. This article presents research on challenges for public understanding of science: In addition to increased scientific literacy (knowledge), people may need to shift epistemi...
Article
Full-text available
Science is of critical importance to daily life in a knowledge society and has a significant influence on many everyday decisions. As scientific problems increase in their number and complexity, so do the challenges facing the public in understanding these issues. Our objective is to focus on 3 of those challenges: the challenge of reasoning about...
Article
Plausibility judgments rarely have been addressed empirically in conceptual change research. Recent research, however, suggests that these judgments may be pivotal to conceptual change about certain topics where a gap exists between what scientists and laypersons find plausible. Based on a philosophical and empirical foundation, this article presen...
Article
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How is knowledge acquired and represented in memory? By what process do individuals come to change their ideas, conceptions, or knowledge? Although the first question has been central to cognitive psychologists' research agendas for many years, relatively less is known about the change process We examine 3 research literatures to broaden our unders...
Article
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This article explores the legacy of Paul Pintrich in regard to theory and research in conceptual change. Specifically, this article reviews his vision for a view of conceptual change - a vision that integrated motivation and affect within a broader view of cognition in the classroom (Pintrich, 1999; Pintrich & Sinatra, 2003). This article describes...
Article
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The Context Comparison Model (CCM) provides a promising avenue to guide persuasive communication development by highlighting the features of the communication context that require consideration, including source, target, and task variables. The model was tested in a study of global climate change. American participants read a text outlining scienti...
Article
Objective: The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. Educational and developmental psychologists can make clear and important contributions to addressing this existential threat. The articles in the Climate Crisis Special Issue take on the issue of climate change from multiple angles, with varied populations, using different research me...
Article
Paleoart is an important medium that communicates scientific understanding about prehistoric life to both the public and researchers. However, despite its broad influence, the scientific and aesthetic decisions that go into paleoart are rarely described in formal academic literature or subjected to peer review. This is unfortunate, as paleoart can...
Article
The psychology of science resistance, doubt, and denial has never had clearer consequences than during the COVID-19 pandemic. This manuscript explores how misconceptions about climate change, vaccines, and COVID-19 cannot be understood apart from the conscious and unconscious motivations and emotions which contribute to public (mis)understanding of...
Article
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Informal learning environments, such as museums, provide unique opportunities for science learning. They are deliberately designed to impact public understanding of science and shape visitors’ attitudes and behaviors. As a developing technology, augmented reality (AR) offers the transformative potential to support museums’ educational missions by e...
Article
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Refutation texts are designed to facilitate the revision of inaccurate knowledge; however, studies have documented backfire effects wherein respondents become less accurate when exposed to a factual correction compared to another. Here, we explored whether epistemic emotions mediated knowledge revision or backfire processes when reading experimenta...
Article
Growth mindset plays an important role in students’ motivation for learning. Students who believe that their abilities are malleable are more likely to set mastery goals and to persist when encountering difficulties. Design-based makerspace – or a makerspace structured with design-based learning components – has many features known to improve growt...
Article
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The evolution education experiences of students of color represent an emerging area of research, because past inquiries indicate these students have differential outcomes, such as lower evolution acceptance and severe underrepresentation in evolutionary biology. Religion is often an important support for students of color who are navigating a scien...
Article
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Although many scientists agree that evolution does not make claims about God/god(s), students might assume that evolution is atheistic, and this may lead to lower evolution acceptance. In study 1, we surveyed 1081 college biology students at one university about their religiosity and evolution acceptance and asked what religious ideas someone would...
Article
When individuals have questions about scientific issues, they often search the Internet. Evaluating sources of information and claims they find has become more difficult in the post-truth era. Students are often taught source evaluation techniques, but the proliferation of “fake news” has resulted in a misinformation arms race. As searchers get mor...
Article
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We investigated knowledge and attitudes before and after reading refutation texts augmented by different kinds of persuasive information and how emotions mediated the process of knowledge and attitude change. Undergraduates (N = 424) enrolled in 4 universities from 3 countries read a refutation text on genetically modified foods (GMFs) and were the...
Article
Across two studies, we evaluated a model that proposed relations between epistemic cognition, epistemic emotions, self-regulatory strategies, and learning of complex contradictory content. For Study 1, to capture epistemic cognition, epistemic emotions, and self-regulatory strategies, 114 undergraduate students thought out loud while reading confli...
Article
Individuals often have misconceptions about education policy issues. Prior research has shown that refutation texts can address misconceptions in other areas (e.g., climate change, GMOs); this study is the first to explore whether participants’ views on controversial education policies—the Common Core State Standards and charter schools—are similar...
Article
This study sought to understand how teachers learn through the process of implementing supplementary curricula, and to what extent the use of curricular materials leads to changes in instructional approaches. Through implementing a STEM supplementary curricular unit aligned to NGSS, the researchers conducted multiple case studies to examine teacher...
Article
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Researchers in various contexts have long struggled with an apparent disconnect between an individual’s level of understanding of biological evolution and their acceptance of it as an explanation for the history and diversity of life. Here, we discuss the main factors associated with acceptance of evolution and chart a path forward for evolution ed...
Article
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The purpose of this design based research study was to better understand and build from students’ perceptual experiences of visual representations of the greenhouse effect. Twenty undergraduate students were interviewed as they engaged with an online visualization for the learning of the greenhouse effect. We found that, even though all students ag...
Article
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In this introduction for this Special Issue we discuss the need for the investigation of science identity with an emphasis on the environment. As such, we propose taking an interactionist approach; one that examines the person in interaction within their environment (Adams & Marshall, 1996). The Special Issue highlights the role of psychology const...
Article
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Background Design-based learning and makerspace programs have been shown to be effective in increasing student motivation for STEM learning. Since these programs have largely been implemented for middle school and older students, less is known about their motivational implications in elementary school contexts. The purpose of this study was to unde...
Article
We explored the role that epistemic emotions play in conceptual change, specifically whether task value served as an antecedent to these emotions and whether type of text (refutation or expository) moderated relations between task value, epistemic emotions, and learning strategies. One hundred twenty university undergraduates completed a measure of...
Article
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We conducted a systematic review of empirical research focused on the experiences of female students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during middle and high school. Drawing on social identity theory, recent research was synthesized to explore how aspects of the social environment influence STEM identity development. Findi...
Preprint
We investigated the mediating roles of attitudes and epistemic beliefs in knowledge revision about genetically modified foods (GMFs). One hundred twenty undergraduate students participated. To measure their misconceptions about GMFs, students first completed a prior knowledge measure. Students then completed self-report inventories designed to meas...
Article
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Two motivational factors—self-efficacy and interest—may be especially relevant to deepening students’ understanding of astronomy. We examined the relationship between students’ self-efficacy for, interest in learning about, and changes in their knowledge of stars, as measured by the Star Properties Concept Inventory (SPCI). Approximately 700 underg...
Article
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Esta parte del monográfico presenta los comentarios de varios especialistas internacionales sobre las contribuciones de Paul R. Pintrich a la investigación sobre Psicología y Educación. Lucia Mason (Universidad de Padua, Italia) comenta las aportaciones del trabajo del profesor Pintrich y sus colaboradores sobre las creencias epistemológicas y su p...
Article
Given the dearth of high-quality curriculum materials aligned with the new standards (NGSS and CCSS) and low student persistence in STEM fields, we sought to develop and test a STEM curriculum that would improve student knowledge, interest, and emotions. A cluster randomized control trial was conducted to assess the impact of Speedometry, a two-uni...
Article
This study reports the implementation of a parental involvement intervention coupled with small group discussions aimed at facilitating transformative experiences (TEs) in science courses (biology and chemistry) in an all-girls middle and high school. Specifically, the goal was to generate parental involvement, TE, and interest. Analyses showed tha...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Design-based learning and makerspace programs have been shown to be effective in increasing student motivation for STEM learning. However, these programs have largely been implemented for middle school and older students, and less is known about their motivational implications in elementary school contexts. The purpose of this study was to examine...
Poster
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Our objective was to test whether refutation texts on a controversial topic could overcome adverse outcomes predicted to result from unfavorable attitudes towards correct claims. To this end, we employed text-mining analysis of post-intervention essays to investigate important learning and motivated reasoning variables.
Article
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We propose that research on text-graphic processing could be strengthened by the inclusion of relational reasoning perspectives. We briefly outline four aspects of relational reasoning: analogies, anomalies, antinomies, and antitheses. Next, we illustrate how text-graphic researchers have been conducting research aligned with aspects of relational...
Article
Refutation text is potentially more effective than standard text for conceptual change. Learning from text and graphic is also potentially superior to learning from text alone. In two studies, we investigated the effectiveness of both a refutation text and a refutation graphic for promoting high school students’ conceptual change learning about sea...
Article
The curriculum, Hot Wheels Speedometry (Mattel, El Segundo, CA, USA), was designed to align with the Next Generation Science Standards for science and the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. Our objective was to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of this integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculu...
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore whether conceptual change predicted emotional and attitudinal change while learning about genetically modified foods (GMFs). Participants were 322 college students; half read a refutation text designed to shift conceptual knowledge, emotions, and attitudes, while the other half served as a control group. The...
Article
Full-text available
Measurement instruments assessing multiple emotions during epistemic activities are largely lacking. We describe the construction and validation of the Epistemically- Related Emotion Scales, which measure surprise, curiosity, enjoyment, confusion, anxiety, frustration, and boredom occurring during epistemic cognitive activities. The instrument was...
Article
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Controversial issues have been established within the larger framework of civic education as an effective pedagogical approach to developing critical thinking in the classroom, preparing students with intellectual habits necessary for participation in scholarship, civic life and democracy. In this study, we found that a pedagogical intervention, Te...
Chapter
Biological evolution is not well-understood and the percentage of individuals who accept it as an accurate scientific theory have changed little in decades. Lack of knowledge and religious objections are the most commonly cited roadblocks to developing understanding and acceptance of evolutionary theory. We argue that moving beyond these two challe...
Article
Full-text available
Refutation texts have been shown to be effective at promoting knowledge revision (Sinatra & Broughton, 201144. Sinatra, G. M., & Broughton, S. H. (2011). Bridging reading comprehension and conceptual change in science: the promise of refutation text. Reading Research Quarterly, 46(4), 374–393.View all references; Tippet, 201047. Tippett, C. D. (201...
Article
The Teaching for Transformative Experience in Science (TTES) model has shown to be a useful tool to generate learning and engagement in science. We investigated the effectiveness of TTES for facilitating transformative experience (TE), learning, the development of topic interest and transfer of course concepts to other courses employing a quasi-exp...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has shown that for some topics, messages to refute and revise misconceptions may backfire. The current research offers one possible account for this backfire effect (i.e., the ironic strengthening of belief in erroneous information after an attempted refutation) from an educational psychology perspective and examines whether emotion...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change literacy plays a key role in promoting sound political decisions and promoting sustainable consumption patterns. Based on evidence suggesting that student understanding and interest in climate change is best accomplished through studying local effects, we developed a simulation/game exploring the impact of climate change on the decli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The current paper builds off previous research that used text-mining to examine the effects of epistemic beliefs and epistemic emotions on written summaries of multiple conflicting documents about a controversial topic. We presently report on two studies to validate the findings obtained from text-mining software. A similar research design was used...
Article
Full-text available
Engagement is one of the hottest research topics in the field of educational psychology. Research shows that multifarious benefits occur when students are engaged in their own learning, including increased motivation and achievement. However, there is little agreement on a concrete definition and effective measurement of engagement. This special is...
Article
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In this study we evaluated two procedures for assessing on-line comprehension as students were reading computer-presented text. While reading, subjects either did not respond to on-line questions or they responded to multiple-choice (MC) questions, Sentence Verification Technique (SVT) test items, or a combination of the two assessment procedures....
Data
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journal published by Elsevier. The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third part...
Chapter
The idea of science as a dispassionate and emotionless pursuit is belied by the fact that science is a human endeavor. Students often come to the science classroom with ideas that conflict with those they are learning which can create anxiety, curiosity, and surprise, or alternatively enjoyment and interest. In this chapter, we examine how emotions...
Data
I n a recent article in Mother Jones, science writer Chris Mooney (2013) noted how climate skeptics and evolu-tion deniers have joined forces. Mooney (2013) laid out a number of hypotheses for this alliance. We argue that it is time evolutionists and climate scientists join forces in promoting the public under-standing and acceptance of science. Wh...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, conceptual change research has been experiencing a warming trend (G. M. Sinatra, 2005) whereby motivational and affective factors are being explored in the conceptual change process. The purpose of this study is to explore the 2 × 2 framework of achievement goal theory in relation to students’ conceptual change learning for a specific top...
Article
Full-text available
Gaps between what scientists and laypeople find plausible may act as a barrier to learning complex and/or controversial socioscientific concepts. For example, individuals may consider scientific explanations that human activities are causing current climate change as implausible. This plausibility judgment may be due—in part—to individuals’ percept...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we explored the relationship between university teaching faculty’s knowledge, concern and feelings of responsibility toward climate change and their propensity to address this topic in their classroom curriculum. We sent surveys containing 30 questions to approximately 3,150 faculty at two state research universities in the southwest...
Data
Full-text available
Plausibility is a central but under-examined topic in conceptual change research. Climate change is an important socio-scientific topic; however, many view human-induced climate change as implausible. When learning about climate change, students need to make plausibility judgments but they may not be sufficiently critical or reflective. The purpose...
Data
Teaching and learning about complex scientific content, such as biological evolution, is challenging in part because students have a difficult time seeing the relevance of evolution in their everyday lives. The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of the Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science (TTES) model (Pugh, 2002)...
Data
n this study, we explored the relationship between university teaching faculty’s knowledge, concern and feelings of responsibility toward climate change and their propensity to address this topic in their classroom curriculum. We sent surveys containing 30 questions to approximately 3,150 faculty at two state research universities in the southwest...