NSF awards $ 250,000 to Clarkson University psychology professor to study statistical thinking in children


Three to ten year old participants wanted to help with study

Nia Brown ’23, Biology, Gracie DeLaBruere ’23, Psychology, Honors, Hannah Spilman ’23, Psychology, Professor Steven Pedersen (CU Communication, Media & Design), Professor Bang Geul Han (CUNY CSI Design and Digital Media), Professor Andreas Wilke, Ph.D. (CU Psychology) and Lori Moulton (Director of the SUNY Potsdam Childcare Center)

Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Clarkson University, Andreas Wilke, received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study statistical thinking in children. The NSF grant will support the faculty member’s investigation into the cognitive mechanisms that underlie children’s perception of chance and their susceptibility to mistaken judgments.

“We have developed three new statistical decision-making paradigms – based on our work with adults – that will assess how children aged 3 to 10 decide whether sequential events will continue in a sequence, how they understand chance and how they reason. on sequential models in space and time, ”said Wilke. “Our findings will help develop better methods of teaching science to help children and students recognize more precisely what are likely patterns and what is random. The world is statistical in nature. A good understanding of randomness is essential for teaching statistics, informs our decision-making processes and provides advice in the face of judgments subject to risk and uncertainty ”.

Wilke and his co-researcher Annie Wertz, a developmental psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany, will team up to test children in daycare centers such as the SUNY Potsdam daycare center. The research team also includes Peter Todd (Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University-Bloomington), Clark Barrett (UCLA Anthropology), Bang-Geul Han (Design and Digital Media, CUNY College of Staten Island) and Steven Pedersen (Communication, Media , and design, Clarkson University).

For their project, short, fun and engaging iPad tasks will be offered to children to study the development of their statistical thinking. Wilke’s study will begin later this fall under strict and safe COVID-19 testing protocols. His team is looking to enroll more children for the study, ages three to ten. To learn more about these studies and / or help enroll your child, please email the Evolution and Cognition Laboratory at [email protected].

A portion of the funding from this grant will go directly to training CU undergraduates to conduct international multidisciplinary research, participate in scientific conferences, as well as support Wilke on research visits. in Germany.


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