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Lab web site

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

Schunn, C.D., Godley, A.J. & DeMartino, S. (in press). The reliability and validity of peer review of writing in high school AP English classes. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

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

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

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.

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.

Schunn, C.D., Godley, A.J. & DeMartino, S. (2016). The reliability and validity of peer review of writing in high school AP English classes. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 60(1), 13-23.

Crowell, A. J., & Schunn, C. D. (2016). Unpacking the relationship between science education and applied scientific literacy. Research in Science Education, 46(1), 129-140.

Dorph, R., Cannady, M. A., Schunn, C. (2016). How science learning activation enables success for youth in science learning. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 20(8), 49-85.

Witherspoon, E. B., Schunn, C. D., Higashi, R. M., Baehr, E. C. (2016). Gender, interest, and prior experience shape opportunities to learn programming in robotics competitions. International Journal of STEM Education, 3(18).

Patchan, M., Schunn, C., and Correnti, R. (2016). The nature of feedback revisited: How feedback features affect students’ willingness and ability to revise. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Fu, K., & Schunn, C. D. (2016). Open innovation through strategic design-by-analogy. To be published in A. Markman & H. Naquin (Eds.), Open innovation: The journey from ideation to innovation. Oxford University Press.

Cox, C., Reynolds, B., Schuchardt, A., & Schunn, C. D. (2016). Using mathematics and engineering to solve problems in secondary level biology. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 17(1), 22-30.

Iriti, J., Bickel, W., Schunn, C., & Stein, M. K. (2016). Maximizing research and development resources: Identifying and testing “load-bearing conditions” for educational technology innovations. Educational Technology Research & Development, 64, 245-262.

Schuchardt, A., & Schunn, C. D. (2016). Modeling scientific processes with mathematics equations enhances student qualitative conceptual understanding and quantitative problem solving. Science Education, 100(2), 290–320.

Patchan, M. M., Schunn, C. D. (2016). Understanding the effects of receiving peer feedback for text revision: Relations between author and reviewer ability. Journal of Writing Research, 8(2), 227-265.

Liu, A. S., Schunn, C. D. (2016).The central questions of spatial cognition. The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Science, 1, 1-42.

Bathgate, M., Schunn, C. D. (2016). Disentangling intensity from breadth of science interest: What predicts learning behaviors? Instructional Science, 44(5), 423-440.

Barstow, B., Fazio, L., Lippman, J., Falakmasir, M., Schunn, C. D., Ashley, K. D. (2016). The impacts of domain-general vs. domain-specific diagramming tools on writing. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 1-23.

Wong, A., Moss, J., Schunn, C. (2016). Tracking reading strategy utilisation through pupillometry. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(6).

Cromley, J. G., Weisberg, S. M., Dai, T., Newcombe, N. S., Schunn, C. D., Massey, C., Merlino, F. J. (2016). Improving middle school science learning using Diagrammatic Reasoning. Science Education.

Egan, P, Cagan, J., Schunn, C., Chiu, F., Moore, J., LeDuc, P. (2016). The D3 Methodology: Bridging science and design for bio-based product development. Journal of Mechanical Design, 138(8).

Schunn, C. (2016). And Writing to learn and learning to write through SWoRD. In S. A. Crossley & D. S. McNamara (Eds.), Adaptive Educational Technologies for Literacy Instruction. Routledge Publishing.

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

"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