Abstract for: Does classroom teaching of system dynamics concepts reduce correlation heuristic reliance? A case study from India

Despite the widespread applications of the stock-flow relationships in everyday life, people exhibit stock-flow misconceptions (e.g., correlation heuristic). According to the correlation heuristic, people incorrectly infer a correlation between the stock and inflow or net flow. Perhaps, classroom teaching of system dynamics could help reduce people's reliance on correlation heuristic. However, there is lesser research on how classroom curricula may help reduce correlation heuristic reliance. This research's primary objective is to investigate how teaching of system dynamics may help Indian students reduce their dependence on correlation heuristic. The study involved two between-subjects conditions at a top Indian educational institution: experimental (N = 45) and control (N = 45). In the experimental condition, students enrolled in a graduate-level computational modeling for social systems course were taught system dynamics concepts over 7-weeks of classroom teaching. In the control condition, there was no teaching of course materials. Participants in both conditions were tested for their ability to sketch the stock shapes corresponding to different flow trajectories in three stock-flow problems. Results revealed that many participants in the experimental condition increased their correct responses for stock shapes and reduced their correlation heuristic reliance across problems compared to participants in the control condition. We highlight the implications of teaching system dynamics in graduate curricula.