|Issue||Naive Idea*||Scientific Idea|
|Dominance & Frequency||Dominant alleles are generally the most frequently occurring alleles in a population.||Dominance refers to expression of an allele within an individual organism. Prevalence in the population is determined by fitness and natural selection.|
|Nature/Nurture||If a trait is genetically controlled it can't be influenced by the environment.||Every genetic trait is influenced by the environment, often to large degree.|
|Political Correctness||The social and psychological sciences must ignore genetics because it is overwhelming.||Greater progress is possible when all relevant information is integrated.|
|Dominance & "Goodness"||Dominant alleles are the most desirable ones.||Some dominant alleles are deleterious or neutral.|
Alternative ideas are known by many names including alternative conceptions, misconceptions, and naive ideas. They have been extensively studied during the past 15 years. These alternative ideas are shared by a significant fraction of the population of students, often 20-60% of students in a class; they are surprisingly resistant to being taught away (especially with traditional, didactic teaching); and while some alternative ideas are culturally bound, most appear in similar frequencies in classrooms around the world.
This does not imply that all prior knowledge is faulty. Students have a great deal of valuable prior knowledge or anchoring conceptions. A good teacher will draw out some of the students' prior experiences and link them to events in the classroom. Scientific understanding is strengthened when it is integrated with everyday knowledge.