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 Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>