Epistemic Cognition

When designing emerging technologies for learning, researchers often aim both for learning specific topics as well as for learning how to think better. Epistemic Cognition is thinking about what and how we know, including the ways in which we acquire knowledge, justify, adapt, and use it. Effective epistemic cognition is key for helping students think better, carefully analyze information, and identify what they know versus what they doubt or distrust.


Barzilai, S., & Chinn, C. A. (2020). A review of educational responses to the “post-truth” condition: Four lenses on “post-truth” problems, Educational Psychologist, 55(3), 107-119. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2020.1786388

Barzilai, S., & Chinn, C. A. (2018). On the goals of epistemic education: Promoting apt epistemic performance, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 27(3), 353-389. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2017.1392968

Barzilai, S., & Zohar, A. (2012). Epistemic thinking in action: Evaluating and integrating online sources. Cognition and Instruction, 30, 39-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2011.636495

Cartiff, B. M., Duke, R. F., & Greene, J. A. (2020). The effect of epistemic cognition interventions on academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000490

Chinn, C. A., Buckland, L. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2011). Expanding the dimensions of epistemic cognition: Arguments from philosophy and psychology. Educational Psychologist, 46, 141-167. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2011.587722

Chinn, C. A., Rinehart, R. W., & Buckland, L. A. (2014). Epistemic cognition and evaluating information: Applying the AIR model of epistemic cognition in D.N. Rapp & J.L. Braash (Eds.), Processing inaccurate information: Theoretical and applied perspectives from cognitive science and the educational sciences (pp. 425-453). The MIT Press.

Chinn, C., & Sandoval, W. (2018) Epistemic Cognition and Epistemic Development. In International Handbook of the Learning Sciences. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315617572-3

Goldman, S. R., Britt, A. M., Brown W., Cribb G., George M., Greenleaf C., Lee, C. D., Shanahan, C., & Project READI (2016). Disciplinary literacies and learning to read for understanding: A conceptual framework for disciplinary literacy, Educational Psychologist, 51(2), 219-246. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2016.1168741

Greene, J. A., Duke, R. F., & Cartiff, B. M. (2018) A meta-analytic review of the relationship between epistemic cognition and academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(8), 1084-1111. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000263

Greene, J. A., Sandoval, W. A., & Bråten, I. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of Epistemic Cognition. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315795225

Greene, J. A., & Yu, S. B., (2016). Educating critical thinkers: The role of epistemic cognition. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3(1), 45-53. https://doi.org/10.1177/2372732215622223

Herrenkohl, L. R., & Cornelius, L. (2013). Investigating elementary students’ scientific and historical argumentation. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 22(3), 413-461. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2013.799475

Hofer, B. K., & Bendixen, L. D. (2012). Personal epistemology: Theory, research, and future directions. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham & T. Urdan (Eds.), APA Educational Psychology Handbook (Vol. 1: Theories, constructs, and critical issues, pp. 227-256). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203424964

Louca, L., Elby, A., Hammer, D. & Kagey, T. (2004). Epistemological resources: Applying a new epistemological framework to science instruction. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 57-68. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep3901_6

Rosenberg, S., Hammer, D., & Phelan, J. (2006). Multiple epistemological coherences in an eighth-grade discussion of the rock cycle. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15, 261-292. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls1502_4

Sandoval, W. A. (2012). Situating epistemological development. In J. van Aalst, K. Thompson, M. J. Jacobson & P. Reimann (Eds.), The future of learning: Proceedings of the 10th international conference of the learning sciences (Vol. 1, pp. 347-354). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Sandoval, W. A., Greene, J. A., Bråten, I. (2016). Understanding and promoting thinking about knowledge: Origins, issues, and future directions of research on epistemic cognition. Review of Research in Education, 40(1), 457–496. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X16669319

(First Draft, 11/24/2020; last updated 11/25/20)

Thank you to Dr. Jeff Greene for contributions to this list.