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Title:Children's motivational patterns and conceptions of intelligence: A study of the developmental relationship between motivation and cognition
Author(s):Cain, Kathleen Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dweck, Carol S.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Psychology, Developmental
Psychology, Personality
Abstract:The incidence and concomitants of helplessness among older children have been well-established. Among children in fifth grade and older, the helpless motivational pattern is known to occur, and is associated with the idea that intelligence is a fixed entity. A controversy exists in the literature, however, about how the helpless pattern develops. It is not clear whether helplessness can occur in younger children, or if it does occur, what the concomitants of helplessness may be in earlier periods of development. This study was designed to: (1) yield a description of the helpless and mastery-oriented motivational patterns at several points in development, and (2) identify relationships between conceptions of intelligence and motivational patterns over the course of the elementary school years. 139 children--first, third, and fifth graders--were interviewed on two separate occasions. The first session focused on children's understanding of intelligence. In the second session, children's motivational patterns were assessed via their responses to a challenging puzzle task. Results indicated that a sizable minority of children at all ages showed the maladaptive helpless pattern, including nonpersistent behavior, negative cognitions (expectations and attributions), and negative affect. Among older children, the helpless and mastery-oriented patterns, respectively, were associated with individual differences in whether intelligence was thought to be a fixed or a malleable quality. Among younger children, the helpless pattern was associated with a tendency to give outcome-oriented explanations for school grades, whereas the mastery-oriented pattern was associated with an emphasis on the process-related variables that contribute to school grades. Based on these results, a model for the development of motivational patterns and conceptions of intelligence is proposed.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Cain, Kathleen Marie
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114186
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114186

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