My doctoral research focused on scientific cognition, conceptual change and misconceptions.

Specifically, I looked at adults’ and young children’s misconceptions in evolution and physics and developed new ways of thinking to help them abandon their naive theories for the more conceptually sound ones.

Even though my research focus on misconceptions was in science, the main drive in my conceptual change work can be applied to any domain, even the taboo.

If you think about it, a lot of how we make sense of the world comes from a specific type of learning that’s based on constructivism, which means we build new knowledge on top of old knowledge. Essentially, we learn new concepts and ideas in relation to what we already know. And so this constructivist approach posits that learning something new requires something to happen to our current knowledge. It can be an abandoning of our naive theory for a more coherent one, or an alignment of all our pieces of current and new knowledge into a more coherent conceptually sound theory.

For example, when we were young, we used to think the earth we live and walk on is flat. And at some point we we were told that the earth is round. When this new concept was introduced to this, it  wasn’t like instantly got it. Something had to give. The old theory we had (that’s typically based on your direct experience with the world, like walking on flat earth) makes it hard for us to learn this new concept (that’s typically more abstract, like the idea that the earth is round because we can’t see it with our naked eye) because it’s hard to let go of what we know.

So what do we do when our naive concept of how the world works runs counter to actual reality?

And how do we teach these new (possibly more abstract) concepts? Esp when one already has their own idea about how the world works (that’s grounded in their direct experience with the world)?

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To facilitate learning, or conceptual change, we have to examine the misconceptions themselves. And find ways to bridge that misconception with the new concept/theory.

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And so this is the work that I’m trying to do, examining all the misconceptions that enshroud all the things that are important to me and figuring out a way to bridge our outdated and negatively biased concepts/ideas about kink, sexwork, sexuality, drugs, alt relationships and everything else taboo with the more open, coherent and radically accepting view..

 

 

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