Posts

The Inherence Bias in Preschoolers: How Do They Explain Performance Differences?

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  A recent study by Renoux et al. (2024) sheds interesting light on how preschoolers think about differences in school performance. This study, conducted among 610 French preschoolers, reveals that children tend to pointed to inherent factors (such as intelligence) rather than extrinsic factors (such as access to educational resources) as explanations for why some children perform better at school than others. Read more about what this inherence bias means and what its consequences are.

Gradeless Learning: Better Learning, Less Performance Pressure

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In the current education system, where grades often dominate, concerns about the mental health of students are growing. The emphasis on performance has led to an increase in stress and a competitive atmosphere that can undermine students' intrinsic motivation and well-being. Gradeless learning , an approach that focuses on the learning process rather than numerical assessments, may provide a solution to these problems.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect: The Psychology of Favors

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Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was not only a scientist and politician, but also an observer of human nature. One of his insights concerns the psychology of doing favors, a phenomenon known as the Benjamin Franklin effect . In this article I discuss the Benjamin Franklin effect, the phenomenon that people like others more after they have done them a favor.

The Continuing Decline of American Democracy

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In October 2020, I wrote Save American Democracy , in which I said that American democracy has been in decline for decades, with Trump accelerating this process. The gap between citizens and politicians is significant, with citizens having little influence on policy. Causes include the electoral system, the Senate, money in politics, the Electoral College, and gerrymandering, making the U.S. vulnerable to tyranny. Has it gotten better or worse? 

The Cell Phone Ban in Schools: Two Teachers, Two Approaches

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From 2024, cell phones, tablets and smartwatches are be banned in Dutch classrooms due to distraction and negative impact on learning performance; schools develop their own policy with exceptions. Of course, both students and teachers have to get used to this new situation. I heard about a conversation between two high school teachers, Ashley and Emily.

Dominance vs. Prestige in Leadership: Ethics and Risk

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Leadership in organizations is important. But not all leadership styles have the same impact. Two prominent styles, dominance-based leadership and prestige-based leadership, have recently been examined to understand their effects on ethics and behavior within organizations. These studies shed new light on how different approaches to leadership not only shape the culture within a company, but also how they can influence the moral behavior of both leaders and their subordinates. The results of these studies provide valuable insights for organizations that strive for a healthy and ethical work environment.

The 3xA approach: Agree, Ask, Answer (or: Agree, Challenge, Explain)

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Having conversations about sensitive topics can be challenging. Emotions run high, and disagreements can escalate quickly. I came across an approach with the YouTuber Debug Your Brain that he calls: Agree-Ask-Answer. You could also call it the 3xA approach.

The Misplaced Trust in the Compliment Sandwich

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Many people understand that giving feedback can be useful and necessary. But they often struggle with how to provide feedback effectively.  A popular way of giving feedback is called the compliment sandwich. In this conversational approach, you start with a sincere compliment, then provide constructive criticism, and end the conversation with a heartfelt compliment again. Does that sound good and logical? In a new article , psychologist Adam Grant explains why this approach doesn’t work.

Social Progress Index 2024: Global Social Progress Recession

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The Social Progress Index is an important tool, providing a lucid picture of global social progress and highlighting areas where nations need to improve. This year’s index, a prodigious collection of social and environmental data, offers a unique lens to evaluate the non-economic dimensions of social performance across the globe. We look at the key findings of the 2024 Social Progress Index, with a special focus on the United Kingdom and the United States.

You Know What You Lose, But Not What You Find

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The New Year's Eve comedy show on Dutch national television was performed by Micha Wertheim . True to his style, it was complex, confusing, and surprising. At the end, he sang the song "You Know What You Lose, But Not What You Find." This song resonates with the times we live in, a period of increasing change and uncertainty.

Flipped learning in education

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Flipped learning (FL) is an innovative educational model that inverts the traditional classroom structure. In this model, students prepare at home with study materials, such as video lectures and reading materials, and then use classroom time for in-depth exploration of the topics. This method stimulates intrinsic motivation (IM) and independent learning, leading to a deeper and more meaningful learning process. Many in education are already somewhat familiar with FL and its benefits. Yet FL could be applied more.

Why Vegan?

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Sometimes people ask me why I am vegan. In our conversations they may bring forward worries and counterarguments. In my view, these are usually based on misunderstandings. In this article, I will first discuss my reasons for being vegan. Then, I will address several common misconceptions.

Breaks as Performance Boosters: New Insights

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The quest for productivity at work often leads to the idea that working more equals better results. This perspective, supplemented with anecdotes about CEOs who wake up early and work weekends, dominates the popular literature. But what if the key to both wellness and performance actually lies in taking breaks? This line of thinking was explored in a systematic review of more than 80 studies on taking breaks in the workplace, conducted by  Lyubykh & Gulseren (2023) .

From authoritarian to progress-focused leadership

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This week, someone wrote the following: "‘You should just do what I say even if you disagree with it’ is really no longer acceptable." I agree with her. Managers who speak like this exhibit an authoritarian attitude that says, "You must do what I say, and I don't care about your opinion." Such an approach to management undermines the relationship between the manager and employee and the quality of the employee’s motivation.” Let’s move from authoritarian to progress-focused leadership.

Progress-focused advice: consultation between an HR advisor and a manager

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Below you can read three conversations between an HR advisor and a manager. The manager's approach is not effective in the first three conversations, but it is in the fourth conversation. In the first two conversations the HR advisor's approach is not effective, but in the third conversation, an example of progress-focused advice, it is.

The PFP-approach Progress-focused Future-projection Questions

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The PFP-approach is a powerful progress-focused tool. PFP stands for Progress-focused Future-projection Questions. This methodology uses a series of five strategically chosen questions that help individuals or teams visualize their future goals and identify the necessary steps to achieve these goals. The power of PFP lies in its simplicity and effectiveness, making it a valuable tool in team and organizational development.

Prosocial impact and need satisfaction: keys to innovation

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Innovative work behavior plays an important role in achieving progress in organizations. In this article, I discuss a study by Papachristopoulos et al. (2023) , which examines how basic psychological needs and prosocial motivation influence creativity and innovative work behavior (IWB) within organizations.

The psychology of naturalness preference

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Recently, at a birthday party, I spoke to someone who was very concerned about all the problems that our modern era brings. He saw overpopulation as one of the biggest problems. When I said that developments in food technology could provide a good solution for the growing world population, he said with an expression of disgust: “Food technology! The word alone disgusts me! No, my vision is that the world population must be drastically reduced and that we must restore our connection with nature.” I was reminded of this conversation when I came across an article about the naturalness preference ( Zhang & Yu, 2023 ).

Intellectual humility and acceptance of AI

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We live in a time where artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to revolutionize our lives. New research ( Li, 2023 ) shows how intellectual humility – realizing the fallibility of our beliefs and knowledge – influences our attitudes towards AI, specifically ChatGPT . Four studies with a total of 943 participants investigate this, using both self-report and behavioral outcome variables.

Microclimates in the classroom: Goal structures and teacher mindsets

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Recent research ( Woznicki et al., 2023 ) examines the formation of classroom microclimates within STEM courses. This study looked at how course goal structures and instructor mindsets contribute to these microclimates and their impact on student perceptions and experiences.

Practical techniques to improve a negative team atmosphere

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Someone told me the following: “The atmosphere in our team is bad and we have already tried several things to improve the atmosphere. We held a meeting to discuss the problem, but it only led to the atmosphere becoming even worse. We organized a dinner but half the team didn't even show up. What must we do?" The question is legitimate because a negative team atmosphere can negatively affect both job satisfaction and the performance of a team. Here are some ideas to turn around a negative team atmosphere. Research: how do you reverse a negative team atmosphere? An interesting study that sheds light on this issue is the study by De Jong et al. (2014) . They investigated three strategies to tackle this: communication density (frequent communication within the team), exchange between team members (mutual support and feedback), task interdependence (cooperation and dependence in task performance). The study found that the strategies of exchange between team members and task interde

The Role of Mindset and Motivation in the Academic Performance of First-Year Secondary School Students

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A recent study ( Boncquet et al., 2023 ) investigated the influence of mindset and motivation on the academic performance of first-year secondary school students (N=3415). This study focused on the quality of motivation according to self-determination theory and the mindset about intelligence following Carol Dweck's framework. The goal was to reveal the impact on learning outcomes such as engagement, learning strategies, and performance.

The tripartite motivation model: new insights for education

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  A new study by Reeve et al. (2023) , explores a new model within Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the tripartite motivation model. This model focuses on understanding the underlying causes of impaired functioning in students. The findings promise new insights into how educational environments can influence student motivation and engagement.

3 Misunderstandings about the growth mindset cleared up

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In a short 2016 article by Carol Dweck in the Harvard Business Review, she discusses some misunderstandings about the growth mindset. The article also contains a short animation. Below you can read the three misconceptions that Carol Dweck discusses in the article. I will provide a brief comment for each misconception.

Research updates Sep-Oct 2023

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Here are some recent research updates relevant to the progress-focused approach: