Learning Research and Development Center
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Christian Schunn

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology
Senior Scientist, Learning Research and Development Center


Research Interests

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


Abramovich, S., Schunn, C. D., & Higashi, R. M. (In press). Are badges useful in education?: It depends upon the type of badge and learner expertise. Educational Technology Research & Development.

Apedoe, X., & Schunn, C. D. (in press). Strategies for Success: Uncovering what makes students successful in design and learning. Instructional Science.

Bathgate, M., Schunn, C. D. (In press). Exploring and Encouraging Metacognitive Awareness in Novice Music Students. In M. Stakelum (Ed.), Developing the Musician, SEMPRE Studies, Psychology of Music Series.

Crowell, A. J., & Schunn, C. D. (In press). The Context-Specificity of Scientifically Literate Action: Key Barriers and Facilitators Across Contexts and Contents. Public Understanding of Science.

Egan, P. F., Cagan, J. C., Schunn, C. D., & LeDuc, P. R. (In press). Design of Complex Biologically Based Nanoscale Systems Using Multi-Agent Simulations and Structure-Behavior-Function Representations. Journal of Mechanical Design.

Fu, K., Chan, J., Cagan, J., Kotovsky, K., Schunn, C., & Wood, K. (In press). The Meaning of “Near” and “Far”: The Impact of Structuring Design Databases and the Effect of Distance of Analogy on Design Output. Journal of Mechanical Design.

Kirschenbaum, S. S., Schunn, C. D., & Trafton, J. G. (In press). Visualizing Uncertainty: The Impact on Performance. Human Factors.

Paletz, S. B. F., Kim, K., Schunn, C. D., Tollinger, I., & Vera, A. (In press). The Development of Adaptive Expertise, Routine Expertise, and Novelty in a Large Research Team. Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Alfieri, L., Nokes, T. N., & Schunn, C. D. (2013). Learning Through Case Comparisons: A Meta-Analytic Review. Educational Psychologist, 48(2), 87-113.

Alfieri, L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Schunn, C. D. (2013). Learning Through Case Comparisons: A Meta-Analytic Review.Educational Psychologist, 48 (2), 87-113. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2013.775712

Liu, A., Newsome, J., Schunn, C. D., & Shoop, R. (2013). Kids learning to program in about half the time. Tech Directions, March, 16-19.

Paletz, S. B. F., Schunn, C. D., & Kim, K. (2013). The Interplay of Conflict and Analogy in Multidisciplinary Teams. Cognition, 126(1), 1-19.

Paletz, S. B. F., Schunn, C. D., & Kim, K. H. (2013). The interplay of conflict and analogy in multidisciplinary teams. Cognition.

Patchan, M. M., Hawk, B. H., Stevens, C. A., & Schunn, C. D. (2013). The Effects of Skill Diversity on Commenting and Revisions. Instructional Science. 41(2), 381-405.

Patchan, M. M.,* Hawk, B. H.,* Stevens, C. A.,* & Schunn, C. D. (2013). The effects of skill diversity on commenting and revisions. Instructional Science.

Abramovich, S. & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Studying teacher selection of resources in an ultra-large scale interactive system: Does metadata guide the way? Computers & Education, 58(1), 551-559.

Altmann, E. M. & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Decay versus Interference: A new look at an old interaction. Psychological Science.

Apedoe, X., Ellefson, M. E., & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Learning together while designing: Does group size make a difference? Journal of Science Education and Technology.

Bathgate, M., Sims-Knight, J., & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Thoughts on thinking: Engaging novice music students in metacognition. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(3), 403-409.

Chan, J., Paletz, S., & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Analogy as a Strategy for Supporting Complex Problem Solving under Uncertainty. Memory & Cognition, 40, 1352-1365.

News and Awards


Christian Schunn was mentioned in a LinkedIn article on the Secret Skill Behind Being an Innovator.
March 31, 2014

Christian Shunn received an NSF grant to study malleability and the impact of science learning activation.
March 31, 2014

"Building a theory of badges for computer science education" Christian Schunn, PI, CoPIR. Shoop (together with CMU), National Science Foundation, 9/1/13–8/31/16.

"Understandingand improving curriculum materials design practices for effective large-scaleimplementation in science" Christian Schunn Co-PI with D. Bernstein, S.Mckenney, B. Drayton, J. Barber (together with TERC, UC Berkeley, University ofTwente), National Science Foundation, 10/1/13–9/30/16

"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

"Building a theory of badges for computer science education" Christian Schunn, PI, CoPI R. Shoop (together with CMU).
9/1/13 - 8/31/16
National Science Foundation

Panther Learning, a company that builds writing skills through its SWoRD Peer Review teaching software, is featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
December 2012
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Chris Schunn was quoted as a "STEM education researcher at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center"
July 30, 2012
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Kevin Crowley and Chris Schunn's Science Activation Lab was the inspiration for a Spark Strategy Session sponsored by the Sprout Fund on July 26th.
July 26, 2012

LRDC Senior Scientist Chris Schunn and Graduate Student Jooyoung Jang Published Their Results About Engineering Students Who Use Digital Devices Such as SMARTTM Boards in the April Issue of the Journal of Mechanical Design.
May 10, 2012
Journal of Mechanical Design

Schunn Named Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
January 9, 2012
Pitt Chronicle

CIDDE Lecture on How to Motivate Students in the Classroom presented by Christian Schunn
October 27, 2011
University Times

Student inventors offer possible improvements
March 3, 2011
Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Area High School Students Exhibit Inventions, Vie for Internship During Pitt's Sixth Annual High School Innovative Design Competition
February 24, 2011
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall

LRDC Researchers Silk and Schunn Develop Synchronized Robot Dancing
July/August 2009
Robot Magazine


Chris Schunn, Joel Chan, and their colleagues at CMU, won the Best Paper Award at 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology for "The Meaning of "Near" and "Far": The Impact of Structuring Design Databases and the Effects of Analogy on Design Output."
September 2012

LRDC Senior Scientist Chris Schunn and Doctoral Student Sam Abramovich Named Winners in the MacArthur Foundation's Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition
March 1, 2012
Digital Media and Learning Competition

Society Fellowship
American Psychology Association, Division 3

Best work at ED-Media conference (with Kwangsu Cho)

Best student proposal award, Creative Concepts conference
Texas A&M University

Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et a l'Aide la Recherche Graduate Fellowship
1990-1992, 1994-1995

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Graduate Fellowship

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Summer Research Award
1989, 1990

Undergraduate Award: Major Hiram Mills Medal, Boris Muskatov Prize, Dow-Hickson Scholarship, J. W. McConnell Award, Emily Ross Crawford Scholarship