Gale M. Sinatra
Stephen H. Crocker Chair and 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, Public Understanding of Science
Dr. Gale Sinatra is a Professor of Psychology and the Stephen H. Crocker Professor of 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 and public understanding of science
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:
2020 Recipient of the American Educational Research Association, Division C Learning and Instruction Sylvia Scribner Award.
2018 Ranked in Top 20 of Women Educational Psychologists Publishing Productivity Study by Greenbaum et al. (2018)
2018 Named Stephen H. Crocker Chair, USC Rossier School of Education.
2017 Named a Finalist for the Frank Prize in Research in Public Interest Communications.
2017 Elected President of American Psychological Association Division 15, Educational Psychology.
2017 Awarded USC Mentoring Award for Faculty/Postdoctoral Mentoring.
2016 Named a Fellow of The Society for Text and Discourse.
2013 Winner of the International Award for Excellence from the International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses for article co-authored with students Abby Beck and Doug Lombardi.
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 Association.
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
2018 National Science Foundation, AISL Program. Co-PI. Re-Living Paleontology: Studying How Augmented Reality Immersion and Interaction Impact Engagement and Communicating Science to the Public. Awarded $1,471,459.
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. & Lombardi, D.* (2020). Evaluating sources of scientific evidence and claims in the post-truth era may require plausibility judgments. Educational Psychologist, 55(3) Published online first, March, 2020, DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2020.1730181
Thacker, I.*, Sinatra, G. M., Muis, K. R., Danielson, R. W.*, Winne, P., Pekrun, R., & Chevrier, M. (2019). Using persuasive refutation texts to prompt attitudinal and conceptual change. Journal of Educational Psychology. Published Online first, November, 21 2019, https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/edu0000434
Polikoff, M. & Le, Q. T., *Danielson, R. W., Sinatra, G. M. & Marsh, J. (2018). The Impact of Speedometry on student knowledge, interest, and emotions. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(2), 217-239. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2017.1390025
Kim, A.*, Sinatra, G. M. & Seyranian, V*. (2018). Developing a STEM identity among young women: A social identity theoretical perspective. Review of Educational Research, 88(4), 589–625. DOI: 10.3102/0034654318779957
Heddy, B. C. & Sinatra, G. M. (2017). Transformative parents: Facilitating transformative experiences and interest with a parent involvement intervention. Science Education, 101(5), 765-786. DOI: 10.1002/sce.21292
Polikoff, M. & Le, Q. T., *Danielson, R. W., Sinatra, G. M. & Marsh, J. (2017). The Impact of Speedometry on student knowledge, interest, and emotions. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2017.1390025
Sinatra, G. M. & Hofer, B. K. (2016). Public understanding of science: Policy and educational implications. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 3(2), 245-253, DOI: 10.1177/2372732216656870
Sinatra, G. M., *Mukhopadhyay, A. & Albright, T. Marsh, J. A., Polikoff, M. (2017). Speedometry: A vehicle for promoting interest and engagement through integrated STEM instruction. The Journal of Educational Research, 110(3), 308-316. DOI: 10.1080/00220671.2016.1273178
Lombardi, D., Nussbaum, E. M., & Sinatra, G. M. (2015). Plausibility judgments in conceptual change and epistemic cognition. Educational Psychologist. Published online first December 8, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2015.1113134.
Muis, K. R., Pekrun, R., Azevedo, R., Sinatra, G. M., Trevors, G., Meier, E., Heddy, B. C. (2015). The curious case of climate change: Epistemic emotions mediate relations between epistemic beliefs, learning strategies and learning outcomes. Learning and Instruction, 39, 168-183. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.06.003
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.
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 Publications.
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.