Cristina Conati, PhD, 1999
Rebecca Fincher-Kiefer, PhD, 1988
Susan Goldman, PhD, 1978
Kudos to James Slotta, PhD, 1994
Self-Affirmation Scholars Meet at LRDC
There are more than 350,000 Google Scholar results for “Self-affirmation Theory” with articles ranging from education to climate change, social media to neuroscience. Self-affirmation theory posits that people are motivated to maintain a positive self-image, and when this image is threatened, by negative stereotypes, for example, people respond in ways to restore self-worth. Interventions that ask people to write essays about personally important values, such as relationships or religion are thought to mitigate the negative effects of such threats.
Identifying a need to help connect and develop a network of scholars who study self-affirmation interventions, LRDC Research Scientist Kevin Binning, organized the “Self-Affirmation Mechanisms and Theory Conference” at the Center, July 26-27. Co-organizers were LRDC Research Associate Omid Fotuhi; Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Assistant Professor Kody Manke and postdoctoral researcher Janine Dutcher. The two-day conference featured presentations, panel discussions, and symposia on topics such as students in STEM courses, smoking cessation, and gender identity. See topics here
A highlight of the conference was the participation of Claude Steele, Stanford University, in an interview with David Creswell, CMU, exploring the origins and history of affirmation theory in social psychology. Keynote speaker Jennifer Crocker, the Ohio State University, shared her insights about the possible mechanisms for values affirmation research "Self-affirmation: Solving the Problem of the Self." An “Advancing Self-Affirmation Research” panel featured William Klein, National Cancer Institute (NCI); Geoffrey Cohen, Stanford University; and David Sherman, University of California, Santa Barbara. Videos of these sessions can be found here
(L-R) Claude Steele, Geoffrey Cohen, Provost Anne Cudd, and David Sherman. Photo courtesy Pitt Visual Services
In a special session, Pitt Provost Ann Cudd created a “Roundtable Discussion on Equity and Diversity in Education” and invited Steele, Cohen, and Sherman to address members of the Pitt faculty and staff. Cudd led the session with the question, “How can we, as an institution, better use our existing resources (e.g., data, researchers) to better understand our students and better inform our programs?” Discussions ranged from creating pathways to combat stereotype threat to understanding students’ unique social-psychological experiences. Noting that Pitt’s 2019 class has the largest number of underrepresented students in its history, Cudd is committed to leveraging research on self-affirmation to improve the experience of all students on campus, and she is relying on LRDC expertise to help accomplish this goal. Binning regularly gives talks to campus groups on stereotype threat. Co-organizer Fotuhi has developed an on-line toolkit for students to equip them with key social and emotional learning techniques. Fotuhi is also involved in the Pitt Success Pell Match Program, and is developing interventions to help students reduce time worried about finances and increase time engaged in studies and campus life. (See also Fotuhi pub below).
Kudos . . .
Paulette Vincent- Ruz has been named a Future Leader by the CAS division of the American Chemical Society. Article here.
Dana Miller-Cotto has been selected as an Inclusive Mathematics Environments (IME) Early Career Fellow from the Mindset Scholars Network. This fellowship is awarded in recognition of demonstrated capacity for collaborative and productive interdisciplinary scholarship that has the potential to promote understanding of inclusive mathematics learning environments.
Jamie Hanson has been selected a 2019 NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Early Stage Investigator Paper Awardee. Details here.
Natasha Tokowicz and Tim Nokes-Malach for receiving funding from the Pitt Seed Project for their LRDC Undergraduate Summer Internship Program
To the recipient of the 2019 Tim Post Award for Research Excellence Caitlin Rice for “A Review of Laboratory Studies of Adult Second Language Vocabulary Training;" and runner up Kelly Boden for "Achievement Goals and Conceptual Learning: An Examination of Teacher Talk."
Amanda Godley (PI) and Diane Litman (co-PI) were awarded a three-year NSF Cyberlearning grant entitled “Discussion Tracker: Development of Human Language Technologies to Improve the Teaching of Collaborative Argumentation in High School English Classrooms.”
Selected Recent Publications
Quintana, R., & Schunn, C. (2019). Who benefits from a foundational logic course? Effects on undergraduate course performance. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 12(2), 191-214. Article here.
Hanson, J. L., Albert, W. D., Skinner, A. T., Shen, S. H., Dodge, K. A., & Lansford, J. E. (2019). Resting state coupling between the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex is related to household income in childhood and indexes future psychological vulnerability to stress. Development and Psychopathology, 1-14. Article here.
Brown, S., Fotuhi, O., Grijalva, C., Tsai, A., Quesenberry, C., Ritchie, J., Cohen, G., & Ferrara, A. (2019). A randomized study of values affirmation to promote interest in diabetes prevention among women with a history of gestational diabetes. Medical Care. Article here.
Popov, V., Zhang, Q., Koch, G.E., Calloway, R.C., and Coutanche, M.N. (2019). Semantic knowledge influences whether novel episodic associations are represented symmetrically or asymmetrically. Memory & Cognition. Article here.
Russell, J. L., Correnti, R., Stein, M. K., Bill, V., Hannan, M., Schwartz, N., & Matthis, C. (2019). Learning from adaptation to support instructional improvement at scale: understanding coach adaptation in the TN mathematics coaching project. American Educational Research Journal. Article here.
Henry, D., Miller, P., Votruba-Drzal, E., & Parr, A. (2019). Chapter nine- safe and sound? Exploring parents' perceptions of neighborhood safety at the nexus of race and socioeconomic status. Science Direct. Article here.
Martin, K. I., & Tokowicz, N. (2019). The grammatical class effect is separable from the concreteness effect in language learning. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition. Article here.
Afrin, T., Litman, D. (2019). Identifying editor roles in argumentative writing from student revision histories. Springer Link. Article here.
Binning, K., Cook, J., Purdie-Greenaway, V., Garcia, J., Chen, S., Apfel, N., Sherman, D., Cohen, G. (2019). Bolstering trust and reducing discipline incidents at a diverse middle school: How self-affirmation affects behavioral conduct during the transition to adolescence. Trust, Discipline, and the Self.Article here.
Conlin, L.D., Kuo, E., & Hallinen, N.R. (2019). How null results can be significant for physics education research. Physical Review Physics Education Research. Article here.