Andrew Shtulman is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University in 2006. His research focuses on conceptual development and conceptual change, particularly as they relate to science education. Recently, Shtulman was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation for “Investigating the Causes and Consequences of Conceptual Change,” which covers a number of cognitive and developmental studies on the topic of evolution understanding.
My earlier work (e.g., Shtulman, 2006; Shtulman & Schulz, 2008) focused on characterizing the nature and scope of students’ evolutionary misconceptions. My current work focuses on identifying the antecedents and consequences of those misconceptions. One line of research explores public perceptions of nature, as either a generally benevolent place (“a peaceable kingdom”) or a generally malevolent place (“red in tooth and claw”), and how those perceptions affect one’s understanding of natural selection. A second line of research, conducted in collaboration with Karl Rosengren and Jason French at Northwestern University, explores how nature and natural history are portrayed to children, both in child-targeted media and parent-child conversations, and whether those portrayals are consistent with evolutionary theory. A third line of research explores how students communicate about evolution and evolutionary topics when they do not hold the same underlying views of what evolution is and how evolution works.
Shtulman, A. (2011). Why people do not understand evolution: An analysis of the cognitive barriers to fully grasping the unity of life. Skeptic, 16, 41-46.
Shtulman, A. & Schulz, L. (2008). Essentialist beliefs about species and their relationship to evolutionary reasoning. Cognitive Science, 32, 1049-1062.
Shtulman, A. (2006). Qualitative differences between naïve and scientific theories of evolution. Cognitive Psychology, 52, 170-194.