Introduction: Priming Priming: activating certain association Shown to affect behavior (cognitive tasks, motor skills) One study showed that priming a social group could affect participants’ cognitive performance (Lin, Van Havermaet, Frank & McIntyre, 2012) Subconscious primes: Asian ethnicity prime had positive effect on math task Elderly prime had negative effect on memory task
Introduction (continued) However, prime does not need to be subconscious Study showed that priming a goal of achievement on motor tasks had positive effect on that task, regardless of whether it was conscious or not (Legal, Meyer, & Delouvee, 2006) Priming can affect not only performance itself, but expectations of performance
Introduction (continued) Recent study examined not just performance but expectations participants had about their own performance (Custers, Aarts, Oikawa, & Elliot, 2009) “Trigger” concept of achievement can affect expectations, and therefore performance Analogy: salt and pepper, achievement construct and successful task outcome (linked if activated at same time) Activating concept of achievement can motivate behavior by altering expectations! Hypothesis: priming the concept of achievement will positively affect the expectations of performing as well as the performance itself on a written test.
Method: Participants N = 20 Undergraduate Psychology students, CSUN Gender Female: 70%; Male: 30% Age Range: 20 – 26 years M = 22.25, SD = 1.80 Ethnicity Latino/Hispanic: 45% Caucasian/White: 20% Asian: 15% Middle Eastern: 10% Other: 10%
Method: Materials Index card Even: Experimental Odd: Control PART 1: Crossword puzzle (Puzzle Maker, www.discoveryeducation.com)www.discoveryeducation.com Experimental: Achievement-related (Custers et al., 2009) Control: Neutral Expected score “On the following line, please indicate how many questions you expect to answer correctly during the following exam (in percentage form)” PART 2: Written Test 15 items, multiple-choice Lower division psychology, sample IQ test questions (e.g. number analogies), vocabulary
Method: Procedure First, participants received numbered index cards; those with even numbers sat in front, odd in back Then, students in front received experimental version of Part 1. Students in back received control version After timing students for 5 minutes, researchers gave instructions to turn over Part 1 and answer performance expectation question on back
Procedure (continued) Part 1 was collected; participants reminded to keep numbers (index card) in case they wanted to find out subsequent test results at end Then, Part 2 was handed out, timed for 7 minutes Finally, tests were collected; students instructed to submit index card only if interested in knowing results Tests were immediately graded following completion of Part 2 (was optional for students to remain after 7 minutes elapsed)
Results Test scores for control group (M = 58, SD = 17.41) were not significantly different from experimental group (M = 49.59, SD = 18.63) Expected scores for control group (M = 69.73, SD = 23.62) not significantly different from experimental group (M = 67.00, SD = 37.19) T-test for independent groups showed no significant relationship between condition and test scores, t(18) = 1.064, p > 0.05
Results (continued) Also, no significant relationship between condition and expected test scores, t(18) = 0.20, p > 0.05 Pearson correlation test showed no significant association between expected scores and test scores, r = -0.027, p > 0.05 Chi Square test to assess association between condition and desire for feedback showed low strength of association, X 2 = 0.90, N = 20, p > 0.05
Discussion Findings did not support hypothesis that achievement prime would increase expectations of performance, performance itself, and desire for feedback Not consistent with previous research on priming (Lin et al., 2012; Legal et al., 2006; Custers et al., 2009) Control group had slightly higher average test scores (performance and expectations), opposite of hypothesis Slight negative correlation between expected and actual scores (not significant, but interesting…)
Discussion (continued) Limitations and Issues to consider: Front seating for experimental group: more visible, closer to researchers, possible feeling of being under more scrutiny Ineffective priming procedure: limited time, and crossword format didn’t guarantee exposure to all achievement-related words No baseline established for test; individual differences not taken into account
Discussion (continued) Future research: “Expectation of performance” question wording may not have been clear (not everyone answered in percentage form) Clarify whether content of test is valid/reliable measure Ensure equal exposure to priming words Use matched-group design (control for variation in testing ability)
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