Experts’ reasoning about the replication crisis: Apt epistemic performance and actor-oriented transfer

Jeffrey A. Greene, Clark A. Chinn, Victor M. Deekens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The modern world is rife with complex challenges that require citizens to weigh multiple, conflicting claims and competing methods for discerning truth from falsehood. Such evaluations depend highly upon prior knowledge. Therefore, the goal of epistemic education is the cultivation of apt epistemic performance: successfully achieving valuable epistemic aims (e.g., evaluating conflicting claims, discerning truth from falsehood) through competent use of ideals and reliable processes across a range of contexts. However, educators cannot prepare people for every contentious claim they will encounter over their lifetime. Therefore, we investigated if and how apt epistemic performance developed in one discipline could be adapted or transferred for use in another discipline. Methods: We analyzed think-aloud protocol data gathered as experts from psychology, other social sciences (i.e., near transfer), and natural sciences (i.e., far transfer) grappled with a complex problem: psychology’s replication crisis. Findings: An actor-oriented approach best captured how experts outside of psychology were able to near transfer or adapt epistemic performance; far transfer was more difficult. Contribution: Our findings suggest epistemic education for an informed citizenry should prioritize teaching disciplinary norms and practices as well as their scope and limitations, along with self-awareness of when transfer is and is not appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-400
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of the Learning Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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