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      Investigating Undergraduate Students’ Use of Intuitive Reasoning and Evolutionary Knowledge in Explanations of Antibiotic Resistance

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          Abstract

          Evidence of relationships between misconceptions and systems of intuitive biological reasoning in undergraduate explanations of antibiotic resistance are presented. The findings indicate promising potential for using cognitive frameworks as a means of addressing common evolutionary and biological misconceptions.

          Abstract

          Natural selection is a central concept throughout biology; however, it is a process frequently misunderstood. Bacterial resistance to antibiotic medications provides a contextual example of the relevance of evolutionary theory and is also commonly misunderstood. While research has shed light on student misconceptions of natural selection, minimal study has focused on misconceptions of antibiotic resistance. Additionally, research has focused on the degree to which misconceptions may be based in the complexity of biological information or in pedagogical choices, rather than in deep-seated cognitive patterns. Cognitive psychology research has established that humans develop early intuitive assumptions to make sense of the world. In this study, we used a written assessment tool to investigate undergraduate students’ misconceptions of antibiotic resistance, use of intuitive reasoning, and application of evolutionary knowledge to antibiotic resistance. We found a majority of students produced and agreed with misconceptions, and intuitive reasoning was present in nearly all students’ written explanations. Acceptance of a misconception was significantly associated with production of a hypothesized form of intuitive thinking (all p ≤ 0.05). Intuitive reasoning may represent a subtle but innately appealing linguistic shorthand, and instructor awareness of intuitive reasoning’s relation to student misunderstandings has potential for addressing persistent misconceptions.

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          Characteristics and outcomes of public campaigns aimed at improving the use of antibiotics in outpatients in high-income countries.

          The worldwide increase in resistance to antimicrobial drugs has made reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics a public health priority. There have been campaigns in many countries to educate the public about appropriate use of antibiotics in outpatients. By use of a comprehensive search strategy and structured interviews, we were able to identify and review the characteristics and outcomes of 22 campaigns done at a national or regional level in high-income countries between 1990 and 2007. The intensity of the campaigns varied widely, from simple internet to expensive mass-media campaigns. All but one campaign targeted the public and physicians simultaneously. Most campaigns that were formally evaluated seemed to reduce antibiotic use. The effect on resistance to antimicrobial drugs cannot be assessed accurately at present. Although the most effective interventions and potential adverse outcomes remain unclear, public campaigns can probably contribute to more careful use of antibiotics in outpatients, at least in high-prescribing countries. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Understanding Natural Selection: Essential Concepts and Common Misconceptions

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              The human function compunction: teleological explanation in adults.

              Research has found that children possess a broad bias in favor of teleological--or purpose-based--explanations of natural phenomena. The current two experiments explored whether adults implicitly possess a similar bias. In Study 1, undergraduates judged a series of statements as "good" (i.e., correct) or "bad" (i.e., incorrect) explanations for why different phenomena occur. Judgments occurred in one of three conditions: fast speeded, moderately speeded, or unspeeded. Participants in speeded conditions judged significantly more scientifically unwarranted teleological explanations as correct (e.g., "the sun radiates heat because warmth nurtures life"), but were not more error-prone on control items (e.g., unwarranted physical explanations such as "hills form because floodwater freezes"). Study 2 extended these findings by examining the relationship between different aspects of adults' "promiscuous teleology" and other variables such as scientific knowledge, religious beliefs, and inhibitory control. Implications of these findings for scientific literacy are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Journal
                CBE Life Sci Educ
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE Life Sciences Education
                American Society for Cell Biology
                1931-7913
                Fall 2017
                : 16
                : 3
                : ar55
                Affiliations
                [1] SEPAL: The Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132
                [2] CORE: Conceptual Organization, Reasoning and Education Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to: Kimberly D. Tanner ( kdtanner@ 123456sfsu.edu ).
                Article
                CBE.16-11-0317
                10.1187/cbe.16-11-0317
                5589435
                28821540
                a2503cfe-67be-448c-b208-4168d0d6167d
                © 2017 M. Richard et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2017 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®” and “The American Society for Cell Biology®” are registered trademarks of The American Society for Cell Biology.

                History
                : 10 November 2016
                : 25 May 2017
                : 5 June 2017
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                September 1, 2017

                Education
                Education

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