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Evolution ChallengesIntegrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution$
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Karl S. Rosengren, Sarah K. Brem, E. Margaret Evans, and Gale M. Sinatra

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730421

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.001.0001

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Narrative Spaces in the Representation and Understanding of Evolution

Narrative Spaces in the Representation and Understanding of Evolution

(p.119) 6 Narrative Spaces in the Representation and Understanding of Evolution
Evolution Challenges

Camillia Matuk

David Uttal

Oxford University Press

Experts familiar with both their content and representational system use cladograms to reason about species’ phylogenies. But for novices, these diagrams rather tend to cue folk narrative beliefs of evolution. This chapter offers a cognitive semiotic account of common misinterpretations of cladograms. Interview excerpts show how undergraduates map narrative structures of their folk beliefs as metaphors onto the spatial structures of the diagram; how folk beliefs, as well as knowledge of representational systems from other domains, create contexts for mistaken interpretations; and how specific manipulations of the diagram’s presentation (e.g., animation) reveal these interpretations to be flexible. Based on our findings, we describe the design and pedagogical affordances of an interactive diagram to address novices’ narrative intuitions.

Keywords:   cognitive semiotics, cladograms, diagrammatic interpretation, folk beliefs, narrative

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