Educating to Use Evidence in Thinking About Education


  • This article is based on a speech given by Newcombe to the SRCD Teaching Institute in Denver in 2009 and to the Latin American Summer School for Education, Cognitive and Neural Sciences in Calafate, Argentina in 2012.

Address correspondence to Nora S. Newcombe, Department of Psychology, Temple University, 318 Weiss Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19122; e-mail:


There is an increasing emphasis on evidence-based education, and the sciences of learning are progressing rapidly. But are reports, guidelines, and outreach enough to disseminate this knowledge and affect educational practice? In fact, policy makers and the public often resist evidence-based recommendations about education. This article suggests that some of the problems lie in well-known difficulties in everyday reasoning and decision making, especially in situations that involve probability and uncertainty. We should communicate and educate so as to address these difficulties.