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Christian Schunn

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Senior Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

  • STEM reasoning and learning
  • Neuroscience of complex learning
  • Peer interaction and instruction
  • Engagement and learning

Paletz, S. B. F., & Schunn, C. D. (in press). Micro-conflict coding scheme. In E. Brauner, Boos, & Kolbe (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Group Interaction Analysis.

Patchan, M. M., Schunn, C.D., & Clark, R. J. (in press). Accountability in peer assessment: examining the effects of reviewing grades on peer ratings and peer feedback. Studies in Higher Education.

Higashi, R. M., & Schunn, C. D. (in press). Different underlying motivations and abilities predict students’ versus teachers’ persistence in an online course. Educational Technology Research and Development.

Ben-Eliyahu, A., Moore, D., Dorph, R., & Schunn, C. D. (2018). Investigating the multidimensionality of engagement: Affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement across science activities and contexts. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Ben-Eliyahu, A., Moore, D. Dorph, R., & Schunn, C. D. (2018). Investigating the multidimensionality of engagement: Affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement across science activities and contexts. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Witherspoon, E., Schunn, C. D., Higashi, R., & Shoop, R. (2018). Attending to structural programming features predicts differences in learning and motivation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(2).

Cannady, M. A., Moore, D., Votruba-Drzal, Greenwald, E., Stites, R., & Schunn, C. (2017). How personal, behavioral, and environmental factors predict working in STEMM and non-STEMM middle-skill careers. International Journal of STEM Education, 4(22).

Menekse, M., Higashi, R., Schunn, C. D. & Baehr, E. (2017). The role of robotics teams’ collaboration quality on team performance in a robotics tournament. Journal of Engineering Education, 106, 564–584.

Witherspoon, E. B., Higashi, R. M., Schunn, C. D., Baehr, E. C., & Shoop, R. (2017). Developing computational thinking though a virtual robotics programming curriculum. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 18(1), 20.

Paletz, S. B. F., Chan, J., & Schunn, C. D. (2017). The dynamics of micro-conflicts and uncertainty in successful and unsuccessful design teams. Design Studies, 50, 39-69.

Vincent-Ruz, P. & Schunn, C. D. (2017). The increasingly important role of science competency beliefs for science learning in girls. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Vincent-Ruz, P., Binning, K., Schunn, C. D., & Grabowski, J. (2017). The effect of math SAT on women's chemistry competency beliefs. The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Crowley, K., Dorph, R., & Schunn, C. (2017). Crumpled molecules and edible plastic: Science learning activation in out-of-school time. Afterschool Matters, 25, 22-28.

Paletz, S., Chan, J., & Schunn, C. D. (2017). Uncovering uncertainty through disagreement. Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Cox, C., Apedoe, X., Silk, E., & Schunn, C. D. (2017). Analyzing materials in order to find design opportunities for the classroom. In Z. Kabayadondo & S. Goldman (Eds.), Design Thinking.

Chan, J., & Schunn, C. D. (2017). A computational linguistic approach to modelling the dynamics of design processes. In B. T. Christensen & S. J. J. Abildgaard (Eds.), Analysing design thinking: Studies of cross-cultural co-creation (DTRS-11). Taylor & Francis/Belkema-CRC Press.

Malone, K. L., Schunn, C. D., & Schuchardt, A. M. (2017). Improving conceptual understanding and representation skills through Excel-based modeling. Journal of Science Education and Technology.

Marshman, E., Kalender, Z. Y., Schunn, C., Nokes-Malach, T., & Singh, C. (2017). A longitudinal analysis of students’ motivational characteristics in introductory physics courses: Gender differences. Canadian Journal of Physics.

Schuchardt, A. M., Tekkumru-Kisa, M., Schunn,C. D., Stein, M. K., Reynolds, B. (2017). How much professional development is needed with educative curriculum materials? It depends upon the intended student learning outcomes. Science Education.

Egan, P. F., Moore, J. R., Ehrlicher, A. J., Weitz, D. A., Schunn, C., Cagan, J., & LeDuc, P. (2017). Robust mechanobiological behavior emerges in heterogeneous myosin systems. PNAS.

Dorph, R. Bathgate, M. E., Schunn, C. D., & Cannady, M. A. (2017). When I grow up: The relationship of science learning activation to STEM career preferences. International Journal of Science Education.

Akiva, T., Kehoe, S., Schunn, C. D. (2017). Are we ready for citywide learning? Examining the nature of within- and between-program pathways in a community-wide learning initiative. Journal of Community Psychology.

Liu, A. S. & Schunn, C. D. (2017). Applying math onto mechanisms: mechanistic knowledge is associated with the use of formal mathematical strategies. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 2(6).

Bathgate, M., Schunn, C. (2017). Factors that deepen or attenuate decline of science utility value during the middle school years. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Barstow, B., Fazio, L., Schunn, C., & Ashley, K. et al. (2017). Experimental evidence for diagramming benefits in science writing. Instructional Science, 45 (3), 1-20.

Canadian Science Publishing posted a blog related to a physics paper by Tim Nokes-Malach, Chris Schunn, Chandralekha Singh, and co-authors Emily Marshman and Zeynep Y. Kalender, titled "The Experiences of Female Students in an Introductory Physics Course" on December 29, 2017. The paper referred to in the article is "A Longitudinal Analysis of Students’ Motivational Characteristics in Introductory Physics Courses: Gender Differences." S

December 29, 2017

The James S. McDonnell Foundation has awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant to Principal Investigator Mary Kay Stein, LRDC Associate Director for Educational Research and Practice, and Co-Investigators Chris Schunn, Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Jennifer Russell, and Richard Correnti for their research, entitled "Teacher Learning to Enact Productive Discussions in Mathematics and Literacy."

December 15, 2017


Meghan Bathgate, Chris Schunn, and Rip Correnti’s research on Childrens’ responses to science across settings is featured in the May 2016 Relating Research to Practice Brief, a website supported by the National Science Foundation.

May 31, 2016


“Do the Best Ideas (Really) Come from Conceptually Distant Sources of Inspiration?" authored by Chris Schunn, his former graduate student Joel Chan, and Steven Dow, has been awarded the Design Studies Award 2015.

April 11, 2016


Tim Nokes-Malach, with colleagues, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for "Build, Understand, & Tune Interventions that Cumulate to Real Impact." This interdisciplinary project includes LRDC researchers Christian Schunn, Benjamin Rottman, Kevin Binning, and Center Associates Chandralekha Singh and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal and other Pitt faculty across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics.

August 21, 2015


Chris Schunn is interviewed about his research for the Canadian Broadcasting System (CBC) "Eureka!: Mapping the Creative Mind." Chris's section begins at 35:20.

March 23, 2015


Christian Schunn and Joel Chan's research included in the Innovation Excellence blog, number 12 "Being a 'genius' requires hard work, not talent."

March 16, 2015


Chris Schunn was mentioned in the OZY article "Bridging Tech's Gender Gap...With Dance."

January 15, 2015


Joel Chan and Christian Schunn's research was discussed in the OZY article "The Productivity Secret You Don't Want to Hear."

December 2014


Panther Learning Systems, Inc. won Ed Tech Company of the Year at the Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 awards. Panther Learning Systems licenses Peerceptive, (SWoRD), which is a web-based peer review system to support writing instruction, developed at LRDC by Christian Schunn.

October 2014

Joel Chan and Christian Schunn's research on analogies was used in the article "How to Think Like an Engineer" from Design News.

October 2014

Chris Schunn and Muhsin Menekse, with Robin Shoop of CMU, have received a National Science Foundation grant for "Changing Culture in Robotics Classrooms." This is a continuing grant that has been approved on scientific/technical merit.

September 2014

A list of recent LRDC award recipients is on page 18 of the August 28 issue of the University Times. Einat Heyd-Metzuyanim, Melissa Libertus, Diane Litman, Charles Perfetti, Christian Schunn, Natasha Tokowicz, Tessa Warren, and Jingtao Wang were all mentioned.

August 2014


Congratulations to Christian Schunn, Diane Litman, and Amanda Godley. "An Intelligent Ecosystem for Science Writing Instruction," was awarded a The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

July 2014

Joel Chan and Christian Schunn's research was mentioned in class the Business Insider, "This Cognitive Tool Helped Thomas Edison Discover His Inventions."

July 2014


Joel Chan and Christian Schunn’s research on analogies was mentioned in a recent National Geographic blog "Where Do New Ideas Come from?"

June 2014


Chris Schunn has been elected a Fellow in the Association for Psychological Science.

June 2014


Christian Schunn was mentioned in a LinkedIn article on the Secret Skill Behind Being an Innovator.

March 31, 2014

Christian Schunn received an NSF grant to study malleability and the impact of science learning activation.

March 31, 2014

"Understanding and improving curriculum materials design practices for effective large-scale implementation in science" Christian Schunn Co-PI with D. Bernstein, S. Mckenney, B. Drayton, J. Barber (together with TERC, UC Berkeley, University of Twente), 10/1/13 - 9/30/16.

10/1/2013 - 9/30/2016

National Science Foundation