Domain Specificity of Achievement Emotions

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COLLIER, Antonie Paula Magdalena, 2012. Domain Specificity of Achievement Emotions [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz

@phdthesis{Collier2012Domai-18871, title={Domain Specificity of Achievement Emotions}, year={2012}, author={Collier, Antonie Paula Magdalena}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

Collier, Antonie Paula Magdalena The need of acquiring good learning skills has broadened in recent years well beyond its mere relevance to students or trainees. In fact in an ever-changing professional context, lifelong learning has become increasingly important. Similarly, for the acquisition of knowledge and the development of motivation, learning and achievement emotions are central. Indeed emotions have not only an impact on the learning process, but also on the psychosomatic health of learners and their personal development. This is to say that emotional experience has a meaning to the choice of study or professional career, and to lifelong learning.<br /><br />It has been known for sometimes now that, having rather a domain-specific organization, emotional experience tend to have no cross-domain connections, at least in the school instruction context. However explanations on why emotions are such organized are rare. In consequence, with the broader aim of finding causes for the domain-specific experience of emotions, this dissertation will first try to find out which characteristics, or which categories of characteristics, better distinguish domains, or school subjects, from one another (Study I). These categories will be used to describe perceived differences and resemblances between school subjects that will subsequently be related to similarities and dissimilarities of students´ emotional experience in them (Study II).<br /><br />It is to be noted additionally that studies on domain specificity of achievement emotions are mostly based on questionnaire measurements, which generate data on memory-based emotions depicting habitually experienced emotions. However it is probable that emotions are strongly dependent on the situational conditions. Therefore another aim of this work is, additionally to examining domain specificity of achievement emotions with the help of two different assessment methods, to compare these two methods. Hence, two separate methods of assessment were used on samples of students to gauge their emotional experience. Study II used a memory-based questionnaire to this purpose and assessed habitual emotional experience, as opposed to the real-time experienced emo-tions in classrooms that were assessed using an experience sampling method in Study III.<br /><br />As a result, this dissertation presents three studies that approach the subject in hand us-ing different angles, different assessment methods.<br /><br />A first interview study (Study I) direct toward students enquired about the characteristics that they felt best described different school subjects, and built categories out of the obtained characteristics. Therefore 40 students, exactly half of whom were female, were probed, on which properties they felt most closely match their portrayal of specific school subjects. Out of their answers, 13 categories were developed with the help of inductive categorization, to which all obtained characteristics could be assigned.<br /><br />The second study, a questionnaire study, developed scales for these categories with which one could capture the degree to which a specific category characterizes a specific school subject. These scales were assessed, together with emotions, with the help of a questionnaire to which 1709 students, 49.2% of whom were female, from Grade 8 and Grade 11 answered. This second study confirmed the assumed domain specificity of achievement emotions, as well as existence of even stronger domain specificity for the sub-sample composed of older students compared to the younger students. Moreover it has been shown that subjects intuitively perceived as being more similar were, on the one hand characterized more similarly, and on the other hand experienced emotionally more similarly, at least in students´ perception.<br /><br />In the last study, 121 students, 50.4% of whom were female, all 8th and 11th graders were surveyed by means of the experience sampling method. As in the questionnaire study, the domain specificity of achievement emotions and the assumed age related differences have been confirmed by the experience sampling study. However it was not observed in this study that perceived similarities in school subjects translated into perceived similarities in their emotional experience. This in turn implied that there is a difference between the perceived emotions as measured by memory-based studies, and the emotional experience assessed in real-time during lessons as done by the experience sampling method. Memory-based enquiries are much more dependent on the students’ image of the school subjects, whereas enquiries on emotions made during lessons are less influenced by personal opinions on the school subject, and more dependent on the current situational context.<br />Additionally the following results are noteworthy:<br /><br />The built categorization system seems to be an adequate instrument to describe perceived differences and similarities of school subjects. Since, also these differences and similarities in characterizations seem to relate to the observed differences and similarities in their perceived emotional experience, as measured by the questionnaire study. Moreover, the domain-specific organization of achievement emotions was confirmed, as well as the fact that these emotions get even more differentiated with age. These results were observed for both the questionnaire method and the experience sampling method. The combination of the several assessment methods can, and should, be seen as a particular strength of this work, in addition to the very innovative character of the interview study. The results of the investigation enable a better understanding of why emotions are perceived domain-specific, and suggest that a particular attention must be given to the image building of school subjects. And that since it seems that the perception students have of a subject has a particular influence on how they experience it emotionally. Finally, implications that arise from these results concerning whether their implementation in prac-tice or for further research will be discussed in this dissertation. Collier, Antonie Paula Magdalena 2012-03-29T07:07:00Z Domain Specificity of Achievement Emotions 2012-03-29T07:07:00Z 2012 eng deposit-license Domänenspezifität von Leistungsemotionen

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