Just an interesting excerpt about how value affirmation can help people. It seems that our default way of addressing problems and situations does actually help people. Especially regarding self efficacy. I suppose we have a much more complicated relationship with values though...
I find that integrity and affirming my values helps me to rise to most occassions. How often do you reaffirm your values and what does such an exercise give you?Writing a simple essay can even out science class grades among men and women, psychologists report. The finding may help correct a curious
Noah Finkelstein, associate professor of physics at the University of Colorado (CU), teaches a session of General Physics 3. Like most courses in physics at CU and elsewhere, the enrolled students are predominantly male.
In the journal Science, a team led by psychologist Akira Miyak of the University of Colorado, Boulder, tested a "values affirmation" exercise on 283 men and 116 women students, who "wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the a 15-week (introductory physics) course."
"Physics is a challenging subject for many college students. Learning the material in lectures and textbooks and demonstrating understanding on exams put substantial pressure on students. Because of the stereotype that men are better than women at math and science, such pressure can prove more severe for women than men, especially for women who think that the stereotype might be valid and worry that it could apply or be applied to them. Values affirmation, in which people reflect on self-defining values, can buffer people against such psychological threat. When they affirm their core values in a threatening environment, people reestablish a perception of personal integrity and worth, which in turn can provide themwith the internal resources needed for coping effectively. Indeed, lab studies showthat such affirmations lessen evaluative stress and improve the performance of stereotype-threatened individuals.
The values-affirmation intervention used in this study involves writing about personally important values (such as friends and family). The writing exercise is brief (10 to 15 min) and is unrelated to the subject matter of the course. Nevertheless, it has been found effective in improving the grades of ethnic minority middle-school students and closing the racial achievement gap. Moreover, this benefit persisted in a 2-year follow-up study," wrote the authors.
Checking grades at the end of the semester, the women who wrote the values essay saw their typical grade bump up from a C to a B. The effect was particularly pronounced among women who had bought into stereotypes about men being better than women at technical subjects.
The authors conclude, "The psychological phenomenon that the intervention targets—identity threat—can prove an obstacle in other (technical) disciplines where the underrepresentation and underperformance of women have been evident. Thus, the intervention has potential for broad applicability in many (technical) disciplines."
By Dan Vergano Essay evens out science class gender bias - Science Fair: Science and Space News - USATODAY.com