Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teens' science interest linked with knowledge, but only in wealthier nations

15.10.2014

It seems logical that a student who is interested in science as an academic subject would also know a lot about science, but new findings show that this link depends on the overall wealth of the country that the teen calls home. The research suggests that individual science achievement may be influenced as much by broad national-level resources as it is by personal interest and motivation.

This is a photo of students in a chemistry class."Our results suggest that children with high levels of interest in science are able to turn their scientific interest into actual science knowledge to a greater extent when raised in more fortunate socioeconomic circumstances," says psychological scientist Elliot Tucker-Drob of the University of Texas at Austin, lead researcher on the study. "The take home message of this research is that the joint effect of socioeconomic resources and academic interest is more than the sum of its parts."

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Tucker-Drob and co-authors Amanda Cheung and Daniel Briley wanted to understand the factors that lead to achievement in scientific disciplines, seeking to examine the joint impact of two factors — academic interest and socioeconomic status — that are often looked at independent of each other.

The researchers hypothesized that students living in wealthy nations would have more opportunity to "select, evoke, and attend to science-relevant learning experiences" that facilitate their interest in science. Students who live in poorer nations, however, would have far fewer avenues by which to develop their scientific interest and learning.

Tucker-Drob and colleagues examined data taken from the Programme for International Assessment (PISA), an ongoing international data collection project run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). For PISA, a new international sample of 15-year-olds is assessed every 3 years on reading, mathematics, and science skills.

Looking at the data collected in 2006, the researchers found that resources mattered, at all levels, for predicting science achievement.

Students' science interest was more strongly linked to actual science achievement when they came from home and school environments that were rich in resources. But this was also true when they came from countries that were economically more prosperous (with higher gross domestic product).

The researchers found that science interest and science knowledge were not related at all for students from poor countries.

"In the context of poor family, school, and national socioeconomic conditions, student interest in science is unrelated to science achievement," says Tucker-Drob. "This indicates that there may be a tremendous amount of untapped talent in the population, which is particularly concerning given national emphases on increasing the number of students of science and technology."

While further research will be needed to establish causal links between science interest, national GDP, and science achievement, the findings are important because they highlight the considerable variation in psychological effects that can be seen across different populations.

"[T]he current results add to the growing body of evidence indicating that substantial heterogeneity in psychological effect sizes is not simply a logical possibility but in many cases an empirical reality," the researchers conclude.

###

The Population Research Center is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant R24HD042849. D. A. Briley was supported by NIH Grant T32HD007081.

For more information about this study, please contact: Elliot Tucker-Drob at tuckerdrob@utexas.edu.

The article abstract is available online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/10/07/0956797614548726.abstract

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "Gross Domestic Product, Science Interest, and Science Achievement: A Person × Nation Interaction" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or amikulak@psychologicalscience.org.

Anna Mikulak | Eurek Alert!

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>