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Douglas Medin

Emeritus Professor

Research Interests

Culture and Nature: At the broadest level we are interested in how conceptions of nature and our relationships with nature affect how we act on it. Is nature most present when humans are absent or are humans part of nature? This research is a collaboration involving my colleague, Megan Bang, and often involves both Native and non-Native children and adults in the Seattle, Washington area and the Chicago Indian community. We are studying the role of culture as it relates to knowledge and reasoning about the natural world. Most recently we have been focusing on ecological cognition and complex systems thinking, including work with Sonya Sachdeva from US forestry on perceptions of ecosystems, including urban ecosystems. Obviously we also care about environmental decision making.

Our lab team’s interests are broader than the above description. Janene Cielto researches how African American women’s hair texture affects social interactions. Natalie Gallagher is interested in social network cognition and how forms of identity may affect it. Alissa Baker-Oglesbee works as part of the culture and STEM research team but also on heritage language preservation and Native identity.

Selected Publications

Book Cover:

Medin, D.L. & Bang, M. (2014). Who’s asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Medin, D.L. (2017). Psychological science as a complex system: Report card. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(4) 669–674.

Page-Reeves, J., Marin, A., Bleecker, M., Moffett, M., DeerInWater, K., EchoHawk, S., Medin, D. (2017). From community data to research archive: Partnering to increase and sustain capacity within a native organization. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, 10, 283-297. doi:

Medin, D.L., ojalehto, b., Marin, A., & Bang, M. (2017). Systems of (non-)diversity. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 0088.

ojalehto, b., Medin, D., & García, S. (2017). Grounding principles for inferring agency: Two cultural perspectives. Cognitive Psychology, 95, 50-78.

Bender, A., Beller, S., & Medin, D. L.( 2017). Causal cognition and culture. In M. R. Waldmann (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning. New York: Oxford University Press.

Taverna, A., Medin, D.L., & Waxman, S.R. (2016). "Inhabitants of the earth": Reasoning about folkbiological concepts in Wichi children and adults. Early Education and Development, 27(8), 1109-1129.

Bang, M., Marin, M., Medin, D. L., & Washinawatok, K. (2015). Learning by Observing, Pitching in, and Being in Relations in the Natural World. In M. Correa-Chávez, R. Mejía-Arauz, B. Rogoff (Eds.), Children Learn by Observing and Contributing to Family and Community Endeavors: A Cultural Paradigm Vol 49 (pp. 303-313). ACDB, UK: Academic Press.

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