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Session Overview
PAP-16: Self-Determined Motivation in School
Time: Thursday, 30/Aug/2012: 9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Rolf Reber, University of Bergen
Location: 251


Role of instrumental goals in determining the passion for academic activities

Takuma Nishimura, Shigeo Sakurai

University of Tsukuba, Japan

The Self-determination theory proposed two types of passion; (1) Harmonious passion, which refers to a motivational tendency to freely engage in activity and leads to positive outcomes, and (2) Obsessive passion, which refers to a motivational tendency to coercively engage and leads to negative outcomes. There is agreement that passions can be distinguished in terms of how the passionate activity is internalized in self-identity. However, we have not completely understood how each type of passion develops. Therefore, we focused on the role of instrumental goals with regard to academic activities under the assumption that passion depends on pursuing goals.

Japanese students of the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades (N = 809; 419 boys and 390 girls) participated in a questionnaire survey, which contained the Passion Scale for Academic Activities (Nishimura & Sakurai, 2012), and Instrumental Goals Scale (Nishimura & Sakurai, 2012). The scale consisted of six factors with two dimensions: Time perspective (present or future) and Achievement goal (mastery, performance approach, or performance avoidance). The six factors were as follows: present mastery goals, present performance approach goals, present performance avoidance goals, future mastery goals, future performance approach goals, and future performance avoidance goals.

A multiple regression analysis revealed that harmonious passion was influenced by present and future mastery goals, and obsessive passion was influenced by present mastery, present performance approach, present performance avoidance, and future performance approach goals. We propose a new perspective on the cause of passion, in which passion is explained by differences in the pursuing goals.

Within-person Configurations and Temporal Relations of Personal and Perceived Parent-promoted Life Goals to School Correlates among Adolescents

Athanasios Mouratidis1,2, Maarten Vansteenkiste2, Bart Soenens2, Willy Lens1

1University of Leuven, Belgium; 2Gent University, Belgium

Grounded in Self-Determination Theory, this longitudinal study examined the academic correlates of 7th to 12th grade students’ (N = 923; 33.4% males) intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuit as well as the type of goals that parents are perceived to promote to them. Person-centered analysis revealed three meaningful groups: A relative high intrinsic goal group, a relatively high-aspiration group, and a relatively low intrinsic goal group. Tukey post-hoc comparisons indicated that students in the intrinsic goal group scored higher on mastery-approach goals, effort regulation, and grades than students in the other two groups and scored lower on performance-approach goals and test anxiety as compared to the students in the high aspiring group. Interestingly, a match between one’s own goal and the perceived parental promoted goal profile did not alter the between-group differences. Further, intrapersonal fluctuation of intrinsic and extrinsic goals was found to covary, respectively, with mastery-approach goals and performance-approach goals and test anxiety and was not consistently moderated by between-student differences in perceived parental goal promotion Instead, perceived parent-promoted goals predicted over-time between-student differences in various academic outcomes with perceived parent-promoted intrinsic and extrinsic goals were, respectively, positive and negative predictors of between-student differences in most of the desired school-related correlates . The present results highlight the importance of endorsing intrinsic goals and also promoting intrinsic goals, even among those students who are themselves extrinsic goal oriented.

Student Motivation in Student-Centered Learning: The Influence of Topic Interest and Tutor Instructions

Lisette Wijnia1, Sofie M. M. Loyens1, Eva Derous2, Henk G. Schmidt1

1Erasmus Univerity Rotterdam, Netherlands, The; 2Ghent University, Belgium

Students’ interest and tutor instructions can influence students’ motivation and subsequent study behavior and performance. This study examines the differential influence of topic interest and tutor instructions on students’ motivation and performance in problem-based learning (PBL). In this experiment students participated in a simulated group discussion in which tutor instructions were manipulated. Tutor instructions were either framed in an autonomy-supportive (“you can”) or controlling manner (“you must”, “for your own good”). Students’ topic interest was measured before the experiment. The results demonstrated that students receiving controlling tutor instructions experienced higher controlled motivation (i.e., feelings of external pressure) than students’ in the autonomy-support condition. However, the autonomy-supportive tutor instructions did not influence students’ autonomous motivation (i.e., feelings of volition), self-study time, and performance. In contrast, students’ self-reported topic interest significantly influenced students’ autonomous motivation and subsequent self-study time and performance. In conclusion, the results are largely in line with the facilitating role of tutors in student-centered learning. Where a tutor should be more on the sideline. The results indicate that tutor instructions do not influence autonomous motivation, self-study time, and test performance. However, when controlling tutor instructions are used it can negatively affect students’ controlled motivation. Therefore, tutors need to minimalize the use of controlling language in instructions. Finally, the results demonstrate the importance of students’ interest in the topics discussed during group meetings. This implies that educators should focus on the development of learning materials that are in line with and promote students’ interest.

The Aha-experience and its Effect on Motivation

Rolf Reber, Ylva Jansen, Silje Brandvoll Haukenes

University of Bergen, Norway

The Aha-experience is a fascinating but little understood experience. Four features define such an experience: (1) the solution comes suddenly and (2) easily to mind; this sudden insight elicits (3) positive affect and (4) confidence that the solution is true. Topolinski and Reber (2010) combined these four attributes into an integrative account of the Aha-experience: Sudden ease of processing elicits positive affect and increases subjective confidence that a solution is true. Such Aha-experiences may be accompanied by experienced lack of control because the solution to a problem is experienced to come from outside. Finally, Liljedahl (2005) found that Aha-experiences increase interest and motivation for a subject.

In order to examine these issues, seven dimensions were assessed: suddenness, ease of processing, positive affect, confidence in the truth of the solution, control, motivation, and coping. Each question had to be answered in relation to three stages of an insight: Before the Aha-experience; during the Aha-experience: and after the Aha-experience. Twenty-one undergraduate students reported in an online questionnaire to have had an Aha-experience related to studies or school. As predicted, the scores for positive affect, suddenness, and certainty increased during the Aha-experience, compared to before. Ease of processing, along with positive affect and certainty, increased after the Aha-experience. We found that experienced control was lowest during the Aha-experience, adding lack of control as a new defining feature of Aha-experiences. Finally, supporting the findings from Liljedahl, we found an increase in motivation that lasted beyond the Aha-experience. Implications for instruction are discussed.

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