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Global-local processing impacts academic risk taking

Global-local processing impacts academic risk taking

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2434-2444

“Research has shown that academic risk taking—the selection of school tasks with varying difficulty levels—affords important implications for educational outcomes. In two experiments, we explored the role of cognitive processes—specifically, global versus local processing styles—in students’ academic risk-taking tendencies. Participants first read a short passage, which provided the context for their subsequent academic risk-taking decisions. Following which, participants undertook the Navon’s task and attended to either global letters or local letters only, i.e., were either globally or locally primed. The effects of priming on academic risk taking were then assessed using a perception-based measure (Experiment 1) and a task-based measure (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 provided preliminary evidence, which Experiment 2 confirmed, that globally focused individuals took more academic risk than did locally focused individuals after controlling for participants’ need for cognition (how much they enjoy effortful cognitive activities). Additionally, the inclusion of and comparisons with a control group in Experiment 2 revealed that locally focused participants drove the observed effects. The theory of predictive and reactive control systems (PARCS) provides a cogent account of our findings. Future directions and practical applications in education are discussed.”

Written by: Elvis W. S. Tan, Stephen Wee Hun Lim, Emmanuel Manalo
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