The present study examined interactive effects of positive task value and cost on students’ learning behavior. Junior college and university undergraduates (N=434) completed questionnaires that included items regarding psychology lectures that they had attended. A self-report questionnaire was used to assess perception of positive task value (i.e., interest value and utility value), cost (i.e., effort cost, opportunity cost, and psychological cost), and persistence in learning. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant interaction between positive task value and effort cost. Simple slopes analysis indicated that positive task value promoted persistence in learning, especially when more effort cost was reported. However, the interaction of opportunity and psychological costs with positive value was not significant. These results suggest that it may be necessary to consider differences in cost types. The discussion deals with implications of motivational intervention for students’ learning in the context of the results of the present study.
Existing general studies of educational materials are intended to improve understanding through careful reading. In contrast, the present study focuses on motivational effects in the first few seconds of reading. Disaster prevention materials were prepared that contained components that had typically been manipulated in educational materials, including the presence or absence of a title or subtitle, an illustration or picture, and color graphics. Participants (6 male, 14 female undergraduates; age range 20 to 24 years) were instructed to glance over a page of the material for 2 seconds, after which they answered questions as to motivation and subjective understandability, responding on a 5-point scale. The findings suggested that all the manipulated components enhanced motivation and subjective understandability, and that the illustrations, pictures, and color graphics produced greater effects than the titles and subtitles did. The results of structural equation modeling analysis for investigating the process of enhancing motivation revealed that the illustrations, pictures, and color graphics enhanced motivation based on an emotional factor, which was not through subjective understandability, rather than a cognitive factor, which was through subjective understandability. Subtitles enhanced motivation based on a cognitive factor rather than an emotional factor, and titles enhanced motivation based on both factors equally.
The present study investigated relationships between learning motivation for subject instruction and teachers’ perception of self-competence and health. Participants were novice teachers (N=265) from primary, junior high and high schools. The results suggested that the junior high and high school teachers had more intrinsic motivation and did more research on teaching materials than the primary school teachers did. Examination of the relation between motivation and teachers’ perceptions of their self-competence and health was done in the context of a hypothetical model in which motivation led to the perception of teaching skills, which resulted in eye contact with students and listening by students, which in turn led to teachers’ perception of self-competence and health. The results were as follows: (a) The primary school teachers’ intrinsic motivation and orientation toward children had a positive effect on their perception of self-competence and health; (b) the junior high and high school teachers’ skills orientation also had positive effects on the perception of self-competence and health; and (c) perception of teaching skill, eye contact, and listening by students mediated the above processes.
The present study reports the development of the Japanese Optimism and Pessimism Scale for Children, and an investigation of the Scale’s reliability and validity. Participants were children in the 4th to 6th grades of elementary school. In Study 1, there were 381 children in Sample 1, and 302 in Sample 2. Useable data in Study 2 were obtained from 200 children. Factor analysis of the data from Study 1 revealed that the 10 items in the Japanese Optimism and Pessimism Scale for Children comprised 2 factors, optimism and pessimism. Moreover, the Scale had high internal consistency and test-retest reliability, as well as high concurrent validity. The results from Study 2 suggested that dispositional optimists tended to take an approach type of coping strategy to deal with stressful events and, as a result, experienced beneficial positive school adjustment benefits, whereas dispositional pessimists tended to use an avoidance type of coping strategy to deal with stressful events and, as a result, experienced psychological distress. These findings suggest that optimism and pessimism may have independent roles.
The present study investigated the relation between pupils’ conceptions of learning and mathematical problem solving. Fifth graders (n=269) and six graders (n=123) completed a questionnaire that assessed their conceptions of learning (rote learning and understanding), after which all pupils were instructed to solve 1 of 3 mathematical problems (Problems A, B, and C). The results were as follows: Pupils who scored high on rote learning conception tended, on Problem A, to evaluate the number, including an outlier, whereas they tended not to respond on Problem C. Pupils who scored high on understanding conception tended to interpret the truncated bar graph in Problem B using exact numbers, whereas, on Problem C they tended to interpret the practical meaning of the diagrams in the problem. The implications of these findings were discussed.
The present study examined students’ perceived apathy states in academics. In Study 1, the Perceived Apathy States Scale in Academics (PASS-A) was constructed with 3 perceived apathy states (avoidance, conflict, and non-emphasis), and its validity was examined through its correlation with students’ actual attitudes toward academics. In Study 2, features of the Scale were explored through examination of the correlation of student apathy and depression. When perceived apathy states were classified by cluster analysis, 4 groups (apathetic, non-apathetic, intermediary, and low non-emphasis) were extracted. Previous studies have not reported studying the non-emphasis state. The non-emphasis state appears only in a narrow area. It was not found to be related to pathological moratorium or the development of identity. Conversely, participants classified in the low non-emphasis group were found to be focused on pathological moratorium and were prone to role confusion.
The purpose of the present study was to examine effects on identity formation of expectations for self-change. Items were developed for assessing the domain of the actual self from which participants desired to change, the domain of the ideal self toward which they desired to change, the intention to change, the self-image after changing, and plans for change. In Study 1, university students (N=393) completed a questionnaire. Analysis of the data revealed that lower scores on ruminative exploration were found in those participants without an intention for self-change, compared to those who had a specific actual or ideal self when they desired change. In Study 2, university students (N=230) completed 2 questionnaires. The results indicated that a significant decrease in ruminative exploration was found in those students with expectations for both their actual and ideal selves, compared to those with no expectations. Moreover, the data from the 2 studies suggested that factors affecting identity formation include the self-image after changing toward the ideal self and planning for change toward the ideal self.
Junior high school students in Japan who want to go to high school are required to take entrance examinations: these can be a highly stressful experience for adolescents. However, it is possible that this experience may also contribute to positive psychological change, which is known as stress-related growth. The present study examined effects of personality traits and perceived support on stress-related growth in students through their experience in taking high school entrance examinations. The participants, 96 boys and 87 girls who were in the third year of junior high school (9th grade), completed questionnaires on personality traits, perceived support, and stress-related growth. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that personality traits and perceived support explained approximately 30% to 50% of the total variance in stress-related growth. An interaction of personality traits and perceived support was associated with psychological growth in the boys, whereas only the main effects of personality traits and perceived support were observed in the girls. In other words, the present study found that stress-related growth differed, depending on gender and the interaction of personality and perceived support.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the process of first aid actions taken by university students when a friend is becoming depressed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 university students who had a friend who was depressive. The data were analyzed using a Grounded Theory Approach (GTA). The main hypothetical ideas were as follows: The university students helped a depressive friend when they were conscious of the benefits of aiding or risks of not aiding. When the university students were conscious about the risks of aiding or the benefits of not aiding, they placed their friend at a distance or were excessively concerned about their friend, instead of offering help. The university students did not suggest that the friend should seek professional help when they were conscious of the risks of giving such a suggestions or the friend’s adoption of their suggestion. Also, they did not suggest that their friend seek professional help when they did not know any appropriate help to suggest. The present results suggest that when friends are to be utilized as a resource for early intervention for depression in university students, it is important to reduce the perceived risks of first aid actions.
People’s scripts are composed of common elements and specific elements that vary among different events. The present study examined how flexibly preschool children switch their scripts and what the related cognitive abilities are. In Experiment 1, young children (N=67; 23, average age 4:0; 24, average age 5:0; 20, average age 6:1) performed a revised doll task. In Experiment 2, young children (N=66; 24, average age 4:1; 24, average age 5:1, 18, average age 6:1) performed 3 executive function tasks, a receptive vocabulary task, and the same doll task as in Experiment 1. In the doll task, the children were required to follow the experimenter’s instructions and switch scripts, and to stop to take off the common items between 2 scripts. The ability to switch scripts flexibly by stopping to change the common items was measured. The results indicated that the oldest of the 3 groups of participants began to distinguish the common items from the specific items and stopped to take off the common items flexibly. Moreover, the executive function tasks had a positive influence on whether these young children switched scripts flexibly based on the common items among the events.
The purposes of the present study were to (a) clarify difficulties in reducing my-side bias, and (b) provide new teaching methods intended to reduce my-side bias when writing arguments. A class of second-graders (N=32) was given 5 lessons in writing arguments. The results confirmed that there are 2 types of difficulties in reducing my-side bias: (a) “omission of reasons”, in which the children denied counterarguments without explaining why, and (b) “neglecting correspondence”, in which the reasons for rebuttals did not correspond to the target counterarguments. However, in the evaluation tasks, the children rated higher those written arguments that included assuming counterarguments and corresponding rebuttals than written arguments without those characteristics. In other words, the children understood what “well written form” was, but did not generate that form. It was hypothesized that this may be why children have difficulty in reducing my-side bias, and the children in the present study were instructed to visualize their internalized “well written form”. After that, the children constructed “well written forms” collaboratively with their teacher, and also independently generated written arguments with reduced my-side bias.
Recently, fostering industrial engineers has become an urgent need in Japanese manufacturing. Although manufacturing problem-based learning (PBL) has been initiated increasingly in higher education, the process of the formation of teamwork has not been explicated, even though an explication is necessary for establishing an effective method of evaluating classes. The present study describes a theoretical model for explaining and forecasting the process of teamwork formation in problem-based learning in manufacturing, and tests the model with data collected from 13 engineering students (12 males, 1 female) at 6 colleges. Analysis of the data with a Modified Grounded Theory Approach resulted in 42 concepts. Teamwork formation in manufacturing problem-based learning consisted of 3 processes: manufacturing, teamwork, and skill accumulation, and 3 main characteristics: (a) members’ skills are challenged in relation to each manufacturing process, so that the manufacturing process forced teamwork formation, (b) the teamwork process started from the development of a sub-team (in this research, different engineering courses), and resulted in either collaboration or isolation, and (c) when members worked for the purpose of manufacturing, they acquired skills as a derivative of their teamwork. The discussion critiques previously published studies and provides suggestions for higher education and human resource management.