CREATE Science Speaker: Ayush Gupta


Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 11:45am to 1:00pm


252 Erickson Hall

Title: Integrating emotions in models of students’ reasoning

Abstract: Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that cognition and emotion are coupled. Education researchers have also documented correlations between emotions and academic performance.  Nonetheless, the role of learners’ emotions in their reasoning and conceptual change has largely been unexplored. The few studies that integrate emotions into models of learners’ cognition have mostly done so at a coarse grain size. Toward the long-term goal of incorporating emotions into models of in-the-moment cognitive dynamics, I present a case study of Judy, an undergraduate electrical engineering and physics major. I show that shifts in the intensity of Judy’s annoyance at conceptual homework problems co-occur with shifts in her epistemological stances toward differentiating knowledge about and the practical utility of real circuits and idealized circuit models.  I then argue that a cognitive model in which Judy’s emotions and epistemological stances mutually affect each other is at least as plausible as a model in which conceptual and epistemological dynamics alone account for the observed stabilities and shifts, and emotions are merely “along for the ride.” I’ll discuss implications of attending to learners’ emotions for instructional moves, as well as for curriculum development and education research.

Bio: Ayush Gupta is an Assistant Research Professor in Physics and Keystone Instructor in Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He did his PhD in laser plasma interactions at the University of Maryland, College Park. After completing his PhD, Ayush switched to working in physics and engineering education research. He is interested in modeling learning and reasoning processes. In particular, he is attracted to modeling human interactions in learning environments at the fine timescale. Gupta has been working on how learners' emotions are coupled with their conceptual and epistemological reasoning. He is also interested in developing models of the dynamics of categorizations (ontological) underlying students' reasoning in physics. Lately, Ayush has been interested in engineering design thinking and engineering ethics education. He wants to use this understanding to promote a more equitable education system and prepare our students towards responsible citizenship.