My research focuses on the social and cognitive factors that underpin conceptual development. In particular, I am interested in the cognitive biases (e.g., essentialist beliefs) that facilitate or impede our reasoning about the natural world. I conduct studies in the laboratory, in schools, and in natural history museums to better understand how experientially-based interventions, such as the use of interactive multi-touch digital exhibits, influence learning. My research also focuses on the ontogenetic and phylogenetic origins of human social cognition. I therefore study how humans (vs. nonhuman species) reason about others’ intentions and goals, create and transmit cultural information via the use of tools, and acquire symbolic thought (e.g., language).
Horn, M., Phillips, B., Evans, M.E., Block, F., Diamond, J., and Shen, C. (2016). Visualizing Biological data in museums: Visitor learning with an interactive tree of life exhibit. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53, 895–918.
Block, F., Hammerman, J., Horn., M.S., Phillips, B., Diamond, J., Evans, M.E. & Shen, C. (2015). Groups in the wild: Quantifying group engagement around interactive tabletop exhibits. Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'15), Seoul, Korea, 2015. Best Paper Award.
Catley, K., Phillips, B., & Novick, L. (2013). Snakes and Eels and Dogs! Oh, My! Evaluating High School Students’ Tree-Thinking Skills: An Entry Point to Understanding Evolution. Research in Science Education, 43, 2327-2348.
Davis, P., Horn, M.S., Schrementi, L., Block, F., Phillips, B., Diamond, J., & Shen, C. (2013). Going deep: Supporting collaborative exploration of evolution in natural history museums. Proceedings of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL'13), 153 - 160. International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS). Best Design Award, 2013.
Block, F., Horn, M.S., Phillips, B., Diamond, J., Evans, E.M., & Shen, C. (2012). The deep tree exhibit: Visualizing the tree of life to facilitate informal learning. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG). 18(12), 2789 - 2798.
Block, F., Wigdor, D., Phillips, B., Horn, M., & Shen, C. (2012). FlowBlocks: A Multi-touch UI for Crowd Interaction. Proceedings of the 25th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. (UIST'12), 497 - 508.
Chua, K.C., Qin, Y.Q., Block, F., Phillips, B., Diamond, J., Evans, M.E., Horn, M., Shen, C. (2012). FloTree: A Multi-touch Interactive Simulation of Evolutionary Processes. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM international conference on Interactive tabletops and Surfaces (ITS'12), 299 - 302.
Horn, M.S., Leong, Z.A., Block, F., Diamond, J., Evans, E.M., Phillips, B., Shen, C. (2012). Of BATs and APEs: Designing an interactive tabletop game for natural history museums. Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM Press, 2059 - 2068.
Phillips, B., Novick, L., Catley, K., & Funk, D. (2012). Teaching college students tree-thinking skills: It’s not as easy as you think. Evolution: Education & Outreach, 5(4), 595 - 602.
Phillips, B., Seston, R., & Kelemen, D. (2012). Learning about tool categories via eavesdropping. Child Development, 83(6), 2057 - 2072.