Psychology

Igor Bascandziev

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
Cognitive Development, Science Education, Social Cognition

Personal website

Contact Information

Department of Psychology
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202

bascandi@reed.edu
(503) 517-7386

Education and Professional Positions

1998 B.S. in Psychology, University "Sts. Kiril and Metodij" Skopje, Macedonia
2005 Ed.M. Harvard Graduate School of Education
2011 Ed.D. Harvard Graduate School of Education
2011-2013 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Lycoming
College
2013-2014 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Clark
University
2014-2016 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
2016-2017 Mind Brain and Behavior Research Associate, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
2017-2018 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Reed College

Teaching

I teach Introductory Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Development, and Cognition in STEM Education. Although these courses cover a wide range of psychological phenomena, they all have some shared goals. For example, I introduce the scientific method to students in all courses, I teach them how to use empirical research in order to test hypotheses, I teach them to evaluate media and professional reports about psychology and education, and I hope that each course will help students to better understand themselves and the people around them. More specifically, the focus of my courses is the origin and development of knowledge. How is it that humans, and only humans, know what the concept 1/5thor the concept density means? How is this knowledge acquired and what cognitive resources support the learning mechanisms needed to acquire such knowledge? These are some of the central questions that I explore in my classes and in my research.

Research

Unlike any other animal, only humans can ponder about infinity, dark matter, gravity, and many other highly abstract concepts. Many of the concepts that are available to adults, including the above three concepts, are almost certainly not available to young children and they have not always been part of the human conceptual repertoire. Rather, they have been constructed over historical time and are constructed anew by individuals over ontogenesis. Understanding the learning mechanisms and cognitive resources involved in the construction of such concepts is the first goal of my research program. Also unlike any other animal, humans acquire vast amounts of knowledge, and models of the world, from conspecifics. Cultural transmission allows us to acquire knowledge about inaccessible, invisible, or cognitively opaque phenomena. Without cultural transmission, there would be no preservation or accumulation of knowledge. Understanding the mechanisms that shape the social transmission of knowledge is the second goal of my research program. These two research goals are related, because in addition to factual knowledge, cultural transmission often involves transmission of explanatory and theoretical understanding.