"Two-Thousand Years of Stasis"

How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa

Susan A. Gelman, Marjorie Rhodes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter examines how psychological essentialism poses a set of conceptual obstacles to a full grasp of evolutionary theory for ordinary (non-expert) children and adults. Specifically, this chapter describes five essentialist assumptions that are common in everyday thought and are inconsistent with evolutionary theory, including: assumption of category stability and immutability, assumption that category boundaries are strict and impermeable, failure to understand within-category variability, by either denying its existence or treating it as 'noise', treating causes as inhering in individuals rather than resulting from population-level forces, and viewing categories as progressing toward an ideal state. Some of these obstacles impede acceptance of evolutionary theory; others impede understanding evolutionary theory. The chapter concludes with speculations about implications for science education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEvolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199949557, 9780199730421
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012

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Hand Strength
Noise
Psychology
Education
Population

Keywords

  • Accepting evolution
  • Categories & concepts
  • Essentialism
  • Science education
  • Understanding evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Gelman, S. A., & Rhodes, M. (2012). "Two-Thousand Years of Stasis": How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa. In Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0001

"Two-Thousand Years of Stasis" : How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa. / Gelman, Susan A.; Rhodes, Marjorie.

Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Gelman, SA & Rhodes, M 2012, "Two-Thousand Years of Stasis": How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa. in Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0001
Gelman SA, Rhodes M. "Two-Thousand Years of Stasis": How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa. In Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution. Oxford University Press. 2012 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0001
Gelman, Susan A. ; Rhodes, Marjorie. / "Two-Thousand Years of Stasis" : How Psychological Essentialism Impedes Evolutionary Understa. Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution. Oxford University Press, 2012.
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