February 22, 2017

6 Evidence based learning strategies

In a previous post I mentioned 3 Dimensions of studying effectively. One of those three dimensions is using effective learning strategies. All over the internet lists of effective studying can be found and I, too, have written several times about this topic (for example, see the above-mentioned post). Now, I have come across an interesting post by Megan Smith en Yana Weinstein in which they describe 6 evidence based strategies for learning some of which are relatively unknown both among teachers and students. Here are those 6 learning strategies:

February 21, 2017

Study: the effects of autonomy support by managers

In two Chinese government schools some central ideas from self-determination theory were tested (Nie et al., 2017). What was specifically tested were the effects of perceived autonomy support by managers on the motivation of employees (266 teachers) and on several output criteria (job satisfaction, work stress, and illness symptoms). The expectation based on previous research were that perceived autonomy support (1) would predict more autonomous motivation (versus controlled motivation, and (2) more job satisfaction, with less work stress, and less illness symptoms. The figure below summarizes the findings of the study.

February 19, 2017

Self-determination theory in organizations

In a new article Deci et al. (2017) give an overview of research within self-determination theory which is relevant for work and organizations. Among other things, they describe the important distinction between autonomous and controlled motivation (see more about this distinction) and the three basic psychological need (for competence, autonomy, and relatedness). The article reviews much research with as central theme that autonomous motivation (vs controlled motivation) is associated with both performance and wellness. Also, the show that the key to fostering autonomous motivation is to create workplaces which contribute to the satisfaction of the above mentioned basic needs. The picture below summarizes these points:

February 17, 2017

Why is controlled regulation so prevalent?

A training participant asked me recently: "Why is controlled regulation so popular when it is clear that an autonomy supportive way of working is so much more effective?" I'll try to answer this question below. Before I do, let me give you a brief summary of what controlled regulation and autonomy support mean. Much research into self-determination theory has shown that autonomous motivation has many advantages over controlled motivation. An autonomy-supportive way of parenting, teaching, coaching, or managing works much better than a controlled approach. The figure below (a translation from a picture from my Dutch book Kiezen voor progressie (2016) summarizes the differences between autonomous and controlled motivation and their different effects:

February 16, 2017

The instability and malleability of personality

When I was educated as a psychologist, in the 1980's, the dominant way of thinking in psychology tended to what we would now call a fixed mindset. Roughly, as students, we were taught that both intelligence and personality are hardly malleable from a certain age on (say, 18). Personality was roughly defined as the whole of stable behavioral tendencies of individuals. It was thought that individual differences in personality were relatively stable and also meaningful, for example for how we should make career choices.

February 15, 2017

Equality-Based Respect: Key to Social Progress

The need for autonomy is a universal basic need of people. When it is satisfied we feel better and we function better in all kinds of ways (view this). Therefore it is wise to support other people's need for autonomy in all kinds of contexts. This can be done in several ways: by providing choice, by encouraging self-initiative and experimentation, by asking for and using their input in decisions, etc. A new study points at yet another way of supporting autonomy by respecting individuals as equals.

February 14, 2017

Brain training works but there are only a few good providers

For some time there has been a debate about the question whether neuroplasticity, the capacity of the brain to keep developing, isn't largely just a hype. In this post I discussed some of the criticisms brought forward. Most of the skeptical remarks against neuroplasticity do not impress me much. Neuroplasticity does exist and knowledge about it is developing rapidly. In this post I mentioned five ways to use neuroplasticity to make and keep your brain fit. As one of these ways I mentioned doing serious brain exercises which you can think of as computer games offering challenging puzzles and problems. Good brain exercises are specifically designed and well researched. I mentioned BrainHQ as an example of a good provider of such exercises.

February 6, 2017

New book by Ryan & Deci: Self-determination theory. Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness

The founders of self-determination theory, Richard Ryan and Ed Deci have written a new book: Self-Determination Theory. Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. This book of 756 pages describes the theory, the research, and the practical applications of self-determination theory, one of the deepest, best substantiated, practical bodies of knowledge in psychology.

February 3, 2017

How to remove a US president?

Two steps: 1) impeachment (=formal statement of charges), 2) removal after conviction via legislative vote.

When has involuntary removal of a US president happened? It has NEVER happened in US history.

When has impeachment happened? Nearly never. Up till now, only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Both could finish their terms as president. Two others were almost impeached: Richard Nixon (resigned before he (probably) would be removed) and John Tyler.

January 26, 2017

We need a revival of the belief in the relevance of evidence

In this post from 2011 I shared my views on the knowability of reality. I argued against the idea that all knowledge is (equally) relative and for the notion that reality is (at least to some extent) knowable and that is very important to acknowledge this. I summarized my points as follows:
"I argue against: 1) saying that reality does not exist, 2) saying that reality is unknowable to us, 3) saying that we should not bother trying to refine our understanding of reality, 4) saying that there is no sense in trying to distinguish between the validity of one truth claim and another, and 5) calling one's view on the world 'one's truth' (and therefore saying that everyone has his own truth and that everyone's truth is equally valid).

January 24, 2017

The Power of Countdown Timers

To learn and perform well you need to be able to focus well on what you are doing. In this article I explained what the benefits are of deep concentration and what disadvantages are of being interrupted and distracted during work. Focus is important. It is also important to realize that it is impossible to focus all day long. It is probably not wise or even possible to focus deeply for more than 4 or 5 hours a day. Focusing longer does not only fail to lead to extra gains, it also can be harmful. It may lead to mental exhaustion.

January 22, 2017

The Status Quo Bias: Barrier to Progress

If we define progress as development in the direction of a better situation then from this definition it follows that progress is something good. Much research has suggested that the feeling of making progress is good for us in various ways. Roughly it can be said that the perception of progress is associated with more positive emotions, more motivation, and better performance. You would say that choosing progress is always easy. But it isn't. 

January 19, 2017

Carol Dweck on the Foundation of Mindset

Growth mindset is on a firm foundation, but we’re still building the house

~ Carol Dweck, January 18, 2017

In science, we build a firm foundation and then we keep renovating the house. We find interesting results, we are fascinated by them, we don’t always trust them, so we go back and replicate them. We also challenge them by asking, where will this not work? When does the effect go away? How can we use better methods to test our theories? As part of this process, scientists ask each other questions. Recently, other scientists asked us some questions about three of our papers. We took this very seriously, carefully considered each inquiry, delved into the studies again (in some cases reanalyzing the data), and prepared three documents, each detailing our process and our findings (here, here, and here). In each case, we showed that the conclusions reached in the paper were sound. But, as with anything that helps make science better, we were grateful for the questions because they pointed out areas for improvement or clarity, and because we believe in open science. It is important however to consider these questions in light of a large body of work. The growth mindset story does not rest on a handful of isolated studies. Research in this area has been ongoing for 30 years and the field has amassed a large body of work. A meta-analysis published in 2013 found 113 studies conducted by many authors and concluded that mindsets are a significant factor in people’s self-regulation toward goals.

Read full post on the Mindset Scholars Network»

Don't write off mindset theory yet

In my previous post I mentioned recent criticism of research into mindset. As I wrote in that post I view it as a good thing that the concept of mindset is criticized. For knowledge to develop anything can and should be criticized. Part of the criticism doesn't convince me, and part of it I find interesting and seems justified (for example some of the points made by Brown and Bates). The article on Buzzfeed which I mentioned contains interesting points but is also a bit one-sided. The impression is given that mindset theory is based only on a few studies and that theses studies' findings are questionable.

January 15, 2017

Criticisms of mindset research

The replication crisis within psychology has been rather big news over the last few years (read more). Findings of well-known psychologists about topics like willpower/ego depletion, powerposes, priming, and facial feedback have been scrutinized and to some extent debunked. Recently, criticism has also emerged of the research into mindsets by Carol Dweck and her colleagues. I have written a lot about mindset and I think it is a valuable and useful concept. But, as I write here:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner