Subscribe: Psychological Bulletin - Vol 134, Iss 3
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achievement  effect sizes  effect  effects stress  effects  gratitude  higher education  memory  meta analyses  meta  research  stress  studies 
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Preview: Psychological Bulletin - Vol 134, Iss 3

Psychological Bulletin - Vol 143, Iss 6

Psychological Bulletin publishes evaluative and integrative research reviews and interpretations of issues in scientific psychology. Primary research is reported only for illustrative purposes. Integrative reviews or research syntheses focus on empirical

Last Build Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 20:00:29 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Variables associated with achievement in higher education: A systematic review of meta-analyses.


The last 2 decades witnessed a surge in empirical studies on the variables associated with achievement in higher education. A number of meta-analyses synthesized these findings. In our systematic literature review, we included 38 meta-analyses investigating 105 correlates of achievement, based on 3,330 effect sizes from almost 2 million students. We provide a list of the 105 variables, ordered by the effect size, and summary statistics for central research topics. The results highlight the close relation between social interaction in courses and achievement. Achievement is also strongly associated with the stimulation of meaningful learning by presenting information in a clear way, relating it to the students, and using conceptually demanding learning tasks. Instruction and communication technology has comparably weak effect sizes, which did not increase over time. Strong moderator effects are found for almost all instructional methods, indicating that how a method is implemented in detail strongly affects achievement. Teachers with high-achieving students invest time and effort in designing the microstructure of their courses, establish clear learning goals, and employ feedback practices. This emphasizes the importance of teacher training in higher education. Students with high achievement are characterized by high self-efficacy, high prior achievement and intelligence, conscientiousness, and the goal-directed use of learning strategies. Barring the paucity of controlled experiments and the lack of meta-analyses on recent educational innovations, the variables associated with achievement in higher education are generally well investigated and well understood. By using these findings, teachers, university administrators, and policymakers can increase the effectivity of higher education. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Does gratitude enhance prosociality?: A meta-analytic review.


Theoretical models suggest that gratitude is linked to increased prosociality. To date, however, there is a lack of a comprehensive quantitative synthesis of results to support this claim. In this review we aimed to (a) examine the overall strength of the association between gratitude and prosociality, and (b) identify the theoretical and methodological variables that moderate this link. We identified 252 effect sizes from 91 studies across 65 papers—(Total N = 18,342 participants). The present meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant, and moderate positive correlation between gratitude and prosociality (r = .374). This association was significantly larger among studies that assessed reciprocal outcomes relative to nonreciprocal outcomes, and in particular among studies that examined direct—compared with indirect—reciprocity. Studies that examined gratitude as an affective state reported significantly larger effect size studies assessing gratitude as a trait. Studies that examined benefit-triggered gratitude (in response to other’s kindness) had a stronger effect that generalized gratitude that focuses on the appreciation of what is valued and cherished in life. Finally, studies that manipulated gratitude in vivo (e.g., economic games) had larger effect sizes compared with those based on recalled incidents when the person felt grateful. We describe the theoretical and practical significance of the results. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The effects of acute stress on episodic memory: A meta-analysis and integrative review.


A growing body of research has indicated that acute stress can critically impact memory. However, there are a number of inconsistencies in the literature, and important questions remain regarding the conditions under which stress effects emerge as well as basic questions about how stress impacts different phases of memory. In this meta-analysis, we examined 113 independent studies in humans with 6,216 participants that explored effects of stress on encoding, postencoding, retrieval, or postreactivation phases of episodic memory. The results indicated that when stress occurred prior to or during encoding it impaired memory, unless both the delay between the stressor and encoding was very short and the study materials were directly related to the stressor, in which case stress improved encoding. In contrast, postencoding stress improved memory unless the stressor occurred in a different physical context than the study materials. When stress occurred just prior to or during retrieval, memory was impaired, and these effects were larger for emotionally valenced materials than neutral materials. Although stress consistently increased cortisol, the magnitude of the cortisol response was not related to the effects of stress on memory. Nonetheless, the effects of stress on memory were generally reduced in magnitude for women taking hormonal contraceptives. These analyses indicate that stress disrupts some episodic memory processes while enhancing others, and that the effects of stress are modulated by a number of critical factors. These results provide important constraints on current theories of stress and memory, and point to new questions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)