About Us

Dealing with many of the world’s most pressing problems requires an ability to understand and reason about causal complexity. For example, understanding climate change involves reasoning about non-obvious causes, spatial gaps, temporal delays, cyclic causality, and distributed causality where the agency/intentionality of one’s actions are on a different level than those of the emergent outcome. In the Understandings of Consequence Lab, we study causal cognition and learning in a complex world.

We pursue the following kinds of questions:

    • What are the inherent default patterns or assumptions that we make as human beings that influence how we reason about complexity in our world?
    • What are the characteristics of human cognition that lead to these default patterns?
    • In what ways do these patterns help or hurt us when reasoning about causal complexity?
    • How can we help people to use their cognition well in reasoning about causal complexity?
    • How can we educate tomorrow’s learners to reason well about a complex world and to be able to solve the difficult problems that they will face?

Our work has deep implications for policy and practice. We work with experts in the sciences and beyond to impact policy. We also collaborate with teachers to develop curriculum and approaches to teaching the next generation to reason well about causal complexity.

CLiC Project News

Seeking Teachers Interested in Testing EcoXPT

November 26, 2016

We are seeking teachers who teach more than one section of middle school science to help us field test the new EcoXPT Curriculum. EcoXPT uses a virtual world to teach the causal dynamics of ecosystems and to help students learn the forms of experimentation and investigation that ecosystems scientists use to understand complex, real world science problems that exist on broad spatial and temporal scales. It helps them to learn the Crosscutting Themes of Patterns and Causality from the Next Generation Science Standards.  If you are a teacher who may be interested in having your classes...

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Solis and Donaldson Gramling Receive AERA Fellowship!

March 14, 2016

S. Lynneth Solis and Maleka Donaldson Gramling each won the 2016-2017 AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research based upon their scholarly achievements, the quality of their proposed research, and their potential to contribute to education research.  To have one winner is wonderful enough, but to have two from the same small lab is extraordinary!  The rest of us in the lab who know Maleka and Lynneth are not surprised but we are very, very proud and happy for them!

New CLIC Modules

Recent Curriculum from the CLiC Project!

December 20, 2015

We have developed and classroom-tested two curriculum modules. Each module is focused on a type of causality that is important to understanding environmental issues and climate change in particular. Module One is called "Becoming Global Thinkers: Thinking About Distant Causes and Effects. It focuses on cases when causes and effects are separated in space and time such that it is challenging to notice them. Module Two is called "Becoming Responsible Individuals: Understanding Distributed Causality." It focuses on cases when many actors play a role in contributing to collective...

Read more about Recent Curriculum from the CLiC Project!