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Session Overview
PAP-11: Affect and Emotion Regulation
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Session Chair: Berit Irene Lassesen, Aarhus University
Location: 251


Motivational factors as predictors of student approach to learning

Berit Irene Lassesen

Aarhus University, Denmark

Background and aim: Research indicates that both self-efficacy and test anxiety may influence student performance. There is also evidence to suggest that students´ approach to learn, i.e. whether they adopt a deep or surface approach influence learning outcome. There is, however, little research exploring the possible influences of self-efficacy and test anxiety on study behavior in higher education. Increasing our knowledge about these associations could improve our understanding of the processes and mechanisms involved in learning and academic performance.

Methods: 1181 undergraduate and graduate students (response rate: 87.5 %) completed a questionnaire package assessing self-efficacy and test anxiety, together with a Danish version of the revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) and a number of other variables. The associations were analyzed separately with linear regressions and multivariate hierarchical regression analyses, adjusting for the remaining variables.

Results: Both self-efficacy, test-anxiety, and perception of the teaching environment appeared to be strong independent predictors of student approaches to learning even when controlling for other motivational factors.

Conclusion: Although successful learning largely depends on knowledge and skills, factors such as self efficacy and test anxiety play an important role as predictors of students’ learning approaches, and subsequent learning outcomes. Because students are not always internally motivated, they sometimes need the situated motivation provided by the institution, and by understanding the role of these factors, we may improve our ability to create learning environments that provide opportunities for students to experience progress in their learning.

How does emotion regulation impact on self-regulated learning?

Anne-Kathrin Scheibe, Bernhard Schmitz

Technical University Darmstadt, Germany

Since negative emotions have been found to have detrimental effects regarding overall academic achievement, dealing with emotions in terms of adaptive emotion regulation is presumed to be a basic prerequisite for self-regulated learning (SRL). Studies based on the strength model of self-regulation suggest that emotion regulation (ER) and self-regulation compete for the same limited resources; yet positive emotions can counteract the depletion of resources (ego depletion). The objective of the present study (N=61 students, Mage=24.3, SD=4.6) was to examine the impact of ER-strategies that differ in their differential efficacies (=ability to modulate negative and/or positive emotions) on important components of SRL within an experiment. In all groups a negative emotion was induced by means of a film clip about animal testing (affect η2=.81***; heart rate η2=.32***). Subsequently, participants worked on a learning task that required SRL. We compared two experimental groups that used ER-strategies with differential partial efficacies (cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression) during the film and a control group (non-regulation). Although instruction compliance was lower in the reappraisal group (η2=.31***), participants in this condition experienced more positive emotions after the film (η2=.09+) and had more self-regulatory resources available (η2=.10*) than did participants in the suppression condition. In the subsequent learning phase participants with high post-film resource availability were better with respect to SRL-components than low-resource participants (η2=.08*). Reappraisal has proved to involve more positive emotions and to be favorable for self-regulatory resources and SRL. Further favorable strategies need to be identified in future studies.

Insights on the dual role of affect in motivation. A study on Self Determination Theory.

Leen Vandercammen1, Joeri Hofmans1, Peter Theuns1, Peter Kuppens2

1Vrijue Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; 2Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Although affect is a major contributor of motivation, it has -not yet explicitly- been included in Self Determination Theory. Until present, studies within the framework of Self Determination Theory that did consider affect, only differentiated between negative and positive affect.

An experience sampling methodology was applied in a 7 consecutive days study where 50 Australian participants reported their affect (happy, relaxed, depressed, anxious) and motivational behavior at random time intervals.

It was concluded that affect is both a cause and a consequence of motivational behavior. Moreover, affect related differently to motivation as a cause than as a consequence, e.g. “feeling depressed” had a negative causal relationship with “controlled motivational behavior”, while it was not a consequence of controlled motivation. It was also found that different kinds of positive and negative affect were related differently with controlled motivation. "Feeling happy" did not cause "controlled motivational behavior", while "feeling relaxed" had a negative causal relationship with controlled motivation. Anxious feelings were positively causally related to controlled motivational behavior, while depressed feelings were negatively causal related to it.

In conclusion, this research gives some new insights concerning the role of affect in Self Determination Theory . First, affect is both a cause and a consequence of motivation. Second, affect should not just be considered as either positive or negative. Future self determination research should take into account both insights by incorporating different kinds of affect as cause and consequence of motivation.

Changes in competence beliefs and value beliefs predict changes in enjoyment of learning

Alex Buff, Iris Dinkelmann

Zurich University of Teacher Education, Switzerland

Emotions are considered as an integral component of virtually all school-related activities of students, and are assumed to play a central role in learning processes (cf. Linnenbrink, 2006; Schutz, Hong, Cross, & Osbon, 2006). Until a few years ago, empirical research dealt almost exclusively with test anxiety (cf. Pekrun, Goetz, Titz & Perry, 2002a; Pekrun & Schutz, 2007). Recently, however, interest in positive emotions such as the enjoyment of learning in everyday school life has grown considerably (cf. Buff, Reusser, Rakoczy, & Pauli, 2011; Pekrun, Goetz, Titz & Perry, 2002b). The current contribution focuses on the importance of subjective competence and value beliefs for the development of enjoyment of learning in mathematics.

The Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions (cf. Pekrun, 2000, 2006) deems subjective competence and value beliefs to be central antecedents of the enjoyment of learning and postulates that more positive competence and value beliefs are also accompanied by greater enjoyment of learning. By means of latent-change models (cf. Steyer, Partchev & Shanahan, 2000), the contribution examines in particular the “change-change” assumption that positive changes in competence and value beliefs lead to positive changes in the enjoyment of learning.

Data are analysed of approximately 430 students. Data collection took place from November 2008 to May 2010 during the sixth and seventh school year. In first analyses, it can be confirmed that positive changes in competence and value beliefs bring with them positive changes in the enjoyment of learning.

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