Knowledge Transfer & Evolutionary Theory


EvoS Seminar

March 14, 2016

5:15 - 6:15 pm

Academic A - G008

Binghamton University


Speaker: David Sloan Wilson


TitleKnowledge Transfer and Evolutionary Theory


Abstract: Education requires the transfer of knowledge learned in one context (e.g., a given class) to other contexts (e.g., other classes and everyday life). Knowledge transfer cannot be taken for granted. In fact, it fails to occur disturbingly often, making education a waste of time. A century of research on knowledge transfer is reviewed in a 2002 article by Cornell psychologists Susan M. Barnett and Stephen J. Ceci. I will use this article as background to make two major points. First, thinking about learning from an evolutionary perspective can help to explain why learning is often domain specific and fails to transfer across domains. Second, evolutionary training of the sort provided by EvoS is exceptionally good at transferring knowledge across subject domains. We should be teaching evolution to accomplish knowledge transfer—the holy grail of education—in addition to the benefits of learning about evolution per se. 


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Last Updated: 4/12/16