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Attention and motivation: What they have in common and why this is important for interventions
1University of Osnabrück, Germany; 2University of Siegen, Germany
The aim of this theoretical paper is to give an opposite view to the still prominent position that attention is a mainly cognitive phenomenon which has to be conscious as well as intentional. To this purpose, it will first be shown that attention does not only consist of cognitive processes, but that it also shares some characteristics with motivation (e.g. functions). Then, a model published by Prinz in 1990 will be presented which describes intentional as well as unintentional processes of selective attention and at the same time illustrates how these processes and motivational aspects mutually influence each other: While intentional attention is, amongst other things, influenced by explicit motives and serves volitional action control, unintentional attention is affected by implicit motives and serves motivational action control. Based on this model and on available empirical data, situational as well as personality characteristics (e.g. motivational dispositions) can be identified that may lead to increased attentiveness or distractibility. These characteristics, in turn, allow several conclusions about possible ways to improve attentional competencies. For instance, it seems advisable to adopt some techniques from motive trainings or to match intentional and unintentional processes of attention by presenting adequate incentives.
Establishing a motivating learning environment for families at risk in an intervention study
The longitudinal study EVA reviews the impact of two established prevention programs – the violence prevention curriculum FAUSTLOS and the psychoanalytical prevention program of EARLY STEPS – on a sample of children at risk with a problematic socio-economic background
In the new implementation of EVA, an exploratory look is taken at families who migrated to Germany from Sub-Saharan African countries. Given the fact that children from these families have shown a disproportionate amount of insecure attachment in comparison to the remaining sample at risk and since parents have often declined individual support, a new parents’ group will be founded in order to establish a motivating learning environment for these families. This offers a possibility of exchange and an environment in which they can learn to integrate their culturally influenced parenting behavior into the new environmental context. Additionally, a new supportive network will be created in order to substitute their extended families.
In order to capture the attachment type and its possible modification, the video-based attachment instrument Manchester Child Attachment Story Task is applied. Diverse psychopathological symptoms are captured by using questionnaires (filled out by parents as well as teachers) in order to measure the interventions’ effects on the children’s development.
First impressions of the parents’ group are discussed. The motivational influence of a culturally diverse adult learners’ group are considered, as well as the influence of migration on parenting. In addition, results of the pre-post-measurement of the entire sample are discussed and related to the specific high risk population.
Counterintuitive statements are less credible but more interesting
University of Bergen, Norway
Increasing motivation is a prioritized objective in education, and means to increase interest at school would be welcome. Several approaches and theories would predict that counterintuitive statements are more interesting than intuitive statements. Theories of the evolution of religion predict that minimally counterintuitive concepts are remembered better than intuitive concepts; bizarreness effects in mental imagery could be seen as a memory advantage for counterintuitive materials; journalists, writers, and even scientists are advised to publish counterintuitive facts or findings in order to attract attention. Despite the widespread notion that counterintuitive statements are more interesting than intuitive statements, this prediction has to our knowledge never been tested.
In two experiments (N=24 each), we presented participants 16 statements, half of them intuitive (e.g., “In the US, more people are killed each year by sharks than by beverage vending machines”), half of them counterintuitive (“In the US, more people are killed each year by beverage vending machines than by sharks”). In the first experiment, we asked how interesting the statement is and found that counterintuitive statements were judged as being more interesting than intuitive statements. In the second experiment, we asked how credible the statement is and found that counterintuitive statements were judged as being less credible than intuitive statements. The correlation between interest and credibility was negative, but failed to be significant. In conclusion, we confirmed the widely held belief that counterintuitive statements are more interesting, and they were less credible. Future research might examine the use of counterintuitive materials in instructional settings.
Passion and commitment: Conceptual Commonalities and empirical evidence
1Universität Erfurt, Germany; 2Universität Augsburg, Germany
It is the aim of this poster to point out the commonalities of passion and commitment, and to encourage the discussion about the theoretical conceptualization of both constructs. As a consequence, an integrative definition of passion and a corresponding operationalization are suggested and tested empirically.
Although both constructs contribute much to the understanding of long-term motivation, they also suffer of terminological ambiguities which diminish their explanatory potential, in particular conceptual overlaps. In order to overcome these terminological ambiguities, the poster integrates the research on passion (Fredricks, Alfeld, & Eccles, 2010; Vallerand et al., 2003) and on commitment (Rusbult et al., 1998; Scanlan et al., 1993; 2009) and suggests a definition of passion as an affect-intense form of commitment towards an identity-related activity which is characterized by four components: (1) the intent to perform a certain activity, (2) identification with the activity, (3) long-term goals referring to the activity, and (4) high-arousal affective experienced in the context of the activity.
According to this definition, a passion questionnaire was developed with four subscales measuring these components. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed a good fit for our model. The concurrent validity of the scale was indicated by its correlation (r = 0.650) with Vallerand’s Passion Scale.
We summarize that the psychological construct passion can be conceptualized as a form of commitment, and would consequently benefit from integrating the theoretical and empirical knowledge accumulated in this context.
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Conference: ICM 2012
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