Gale M. Sinatra
Professor of Education and Psychology
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Learning Theory, Knowledge Construction, Conceptual Change Learning, Science Learning
Dr. Gale Sinatra is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Rossier. Her areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, learning theory, knowledge construction, conceptual change learning, literacy acquisition, assessment, and the public understanding of science.
Her recent research focuses on understanding the cognitive and motivational processes that lead to successful learning in science. Specifically, Sinatra focuses on the role of motivation and emotion in teaching and learning about controversial topics, such as biological evolution and climate change. Sinatra developed a model of conceptual change learning, which describes how motivational factors contribute to the likelihood that individuals will change their thinking about a scientific topic. She recently served as Co-PI on National Science Foundation grant, which resulted in a co-edited volume published by Oxford University Press entitled, Evolution Challenges: Integrating research and practice in teaching and learning about evolution.
She comes from her previous appointment as Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she served on the faculty since 2000. Sinatra received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Sinatra is the past Editor of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 15 journal, Educational Psychologist. She recently served as Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division C, Learning and Instruction, and a Fellow of both APA and AERA.
Dr. Sinatra research agenda explores the cognitive, motivational, and emotional processes that lead to attitude change, conceptual change, and successful learning, particularly in STEM
2012 Professor, Joint Appointed in Psychology, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
2012 Professor, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.
2003-2006 Interim Graduate Dean, Graduate College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
- American Educational Research Association, Division C, Fellow
- American Psychological Association, Division 15, Fellow
- Conceptual Change Special Interest Groupof EARLI
- European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
- International Society for the Learning Sciences (ICLS)
Honors and Awards:
- 2009 Elected Vice President of Division C, Learning and Instruction, of the American Educational
- Research Association.
- 2009 Named Fellow of Division C, Learning and Instruction, of the American Educational Research
- 2009 Ranked 16th in Educational Psychology Publishing Productivity Study by Jones et al. (2009)
- 2008 Named Member, International Advisory Board of the Centre for Learning Research, University of
- Turku, Finland.
- 2007 Named a Fellow of Division 15, Educational Psychology, of the American Psychological
- EDUC 642 Controversies in Learning and Instruction
- EDUC 712 Issues in Human Motivation
2014 Mattel Children’s Foundation. Mattel Speedometry Phase II District Wide RTC, Co-PI. Awarded $784,000.00.
2014 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Co-PI, Fostering epistemic belief change: The role of epistemic emotions and self-regulated learning. Total Award: $497,286 (CAD). Awarded $13,700 (CAD) to USC.
2014 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scaled Models for Certificate Delivery Phase II, Awarded: $99,242.00.
2014 Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education First in the World Program, Key Personnel, Improving Access to College through Games, Technology, and Social Media. Awarded: $3,200,000.
2013 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scaled Models for Certificate Delivery, Awarded: $9,523.81.
2012 Mattel Children’s Foundation. Using Hot Wheels to Teach Mathematics and Science Concepts. Awarded $250,000.
2011 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Epistemic beliefs and emotions: Examining their roles in self-regulated learning and epistemic change. Awarded $167,236 (CAD).
2010 National Science Foundation, REESE Program, Co-PI. Understanding Emergence. Awarded $130,000.
- Sinatra, G. M., Heddy, B. C. & Lombardi, D. (2015) The challenges of defining and measuring student engagement in science. Educational Psychologist, 50(1), 1-13, DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2014.1002924
- Journal Articles (refereed)
- Sinatra, G. M., Kienhues, D. & Hofer, B. (2014). Addressing challenges to public understanding of science: Epistemic cognition, motivated reasoning, and conceptual change. Educational Psychologist. DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2014.916216.
- Lombardi, D., Seyranian, V. & Sinatra, G. M. (2014). Source effects and plausibility judgments when reading about climate change. Discourse Processes, 51(1-2), 75-92, DOI:10.1080/0163853X.2013.855049.
- Cordova, J., Sinatra, G. M., *Broughton, S. H., & Taasoobshirazi, G. (2014). Self-efficacy, confidence in prior knowledge, and conceptual change. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 164-174. DOI: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2014.03.006.
- Sinatra, G. M. & Danielson, R. W. (2014). Adapting to a warmer climate of scientific communication, BioScience, 64(4), 275-276. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biu023.
- 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.
- Johnson, M. & Sinatra, G. M. (2014). The influence of approach and avoidance goals on conceptual change. Journal of Educational Research. Online first published January 9, 2014, DOI: 10.1080/00220671.2013.807492.
- Lombardi, D., Sinatra, G. M., & Nussbaum, E. M. (2013). Plausibility Reappraisals and Shifts in Middle School Students' Climate Change Conceptions. Learning and Instruction, 27, 50-62. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.03.001.
- Johnson, M. & Sinatra, G. M. (2012). Use of Task-Value Instructional Inductions for Facilitating Engagement and Conceptual Change. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 30, 51-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2012.09.003.
- Edited Books
- Sinatra, G. M. & Pintrich, P. R. (Eds.) (2003). Intentional Conceptual Change. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Harris, K., McCormick, C. B., Sinatra, G. M., & Sweller, J. (Eds.). (2012). Critical Theories and Models of Learning and Development Relevant to Learning and Teaching, Volume 1. In K. Harris & S. Graham (Eds). APA Educational Psychology Handbook Series. APA Publicationions.
- Book Reviews
- Sinatra, G. M. & Lombardi, D. (2013). Explanation, Discovery, and Conceptual Change-- The Holy Trinity of the Scientific Enterprise: A Review of The Cognitive Science of Science by Paul Thagard. Science Education. Advance on - line publication. DOI 10.1002/sce.21062
- Book Chapters
- Sinatra, G. M. & Mason, L. (2013). Beyond knowledge: Learner characteristics influencing conceptual change (pp. 377-394). In S. Vosniadou (Ed.). International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change (2nd edition). Netherlands: Springer.
- Sinatra, G. M. & Chinn, C. (2011). Thinking and reasoning in science: Promoting epistemic conceptual change. In K. Harris, C. B. McCormick, G. M. Sinatra, & J. Sweller (Eds.). Critical Theories and Models of Learning and Development Relevant to Learning and Teaching, Volume 1 (pp. 257-282). In K. Harris & S. Graham (Eds.). APA Educational Psychology Handbook Series. APA Publications.
- Scholarly Paper Presentations
- Lombardi, D., Seyranian, V., & Sinatra, G. M. (2014, April). Source validity and plausibility perceptions about climate change. Paper submitted for presentation at the annual meeting of the AmericanEducational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA