Psychology and Pedagogy for Personality Development chair, St.Petersburg State University,
Background. Though many Russian and foreign studies have been devoted to the study of self-control in educational activity, most of the research has been limited to the use of questionnaires or psychodiagnostic methods. The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the process of cognitive control in the context of learning have still not been sufficiently understood, despite the obvious significance of controlling action for academic success.
Objective. The purpose of this study is to identify the psychological and neurophysiological features of cognitive control in the process of learning activity, for students with different levels of academic success.
Design. This study investigates the control function in first-year students who have varying degrees of academic success. The research design is interdisciplinary and integrates three different approaches: the neurophysiological, psychological, and pedagogical. In the empirical part, 31 first-year students at Saint Petersburg State University (SPbSU) participated in the research. We measured the personal characteristics of the subjects (using the five-factor personality questionnaire as modified by A.B. Khromov), their self-management ability (Peysakhov’s SMA test), characteristics of the event-related potentials of the brain in response to presentation of stimuli in the solving of problems that require searching for an error in a word (electroencephalographic method), response time, and number of errors and corrections. Four types of stimuli were used: the correct spelling of a word, the replacement of a letter with one that is written similarly or sounds similar, or by one that is not similar. The indicators used to measure academic success were the results of the Unified State Examination (USE) and the first (winter) term of the 2016–17 academic year. The data were analyzed by correlation analysis and analysis of variance.
Results. Comparison of groups of students with lower and higher levels of academic success showed significant differences in all the measured groups of variables — personality traits (Emotionality–Restraint factor), components of the system of self-management (Goal-Setting and Forecasting scales), behavioral data from the experiment (number of corrections), and neurophysiological indicators of cognitive control (the components P200, N200, P300, and N400). The results of the study revealed that students with greater academic success are characterized by less emotionality, a higher capability for goal-setting, and a lower capability for forecasting, as well as greater attention and greater engagement in solving the task of finding mistakes. Such students flexibly distribute their efforts depending on the difficulty of the task and are less likely than the less successful students to change their initial answer to the experimental task.
Conclusion. A high level of development of the self-regulation and self-management system potentially improves the process of finding an error which is necessary for better academic success.
Keywords: cognitive control, self-control, event-related potentials, academic success
This article examines the theoretical and methodological justifications for studying students’ research potential. It presents proof of the isomorphic nature of human research activity and research potential as well as of the fluid nature of its development: from research-like behavior to science-based research activity. It defines three functional components (motivational, cognitive, and behavioral) that form the structure of research potential. It further presents the results of empirically studying the cognitive features of master’s students possessing different levels of research potential. It provides data on the dynamics of research-potential components at different educational levels (bachelor’s and master’s programs). Special attention is given to a comparative analysis of evaluations by research tutors regarding their students’ research potential and of the indicators obtained using psychodiagnostic methods.
Keywords: research activity, research behavior, research potential, cognitive activity, cognitive features of students
Years of social, economic, and political changes have resulted in intensive and extensive migration activity. The appearance of compelled and voluntary migrants has brought about the development of a new direction in social psychology: the psychology of migration. Many disciplines are connected with the study of migration, the problems of migrants, and adaptation processes. In the social-psychological literature, various models of adaptation to new conditions of a social-cultural environment are considered (I. Jasinskaja-Lahti, K. Liebkind, J. Berry; S.-K. Lee, J. Sobal, E. Frongillo). Various social-psychological features of migrants are studied: for example, ethnic identity, characteristics of psychological adaptation, emotional well-being, and mental health. In the Russian scientific literature the following problems are considered: emigrants’ interactions with representatives of foreign cultures (N. S. Khrustaleva), degree of cultural similarity (T.G. Stefanenko), personal features of emigrants (S. H. Schwartz, E. Prince-Gibson), features of ethnic identity (G.U. Soldatova, S. D. Gurieva), and many others. In Russia, research regarding the influence of the social-cultural environment on processes of adaptation were begun only in 2004.
The main objective of our study was to identify psychological mechanisms of migration flows (incoming and outgoing) as indicators of sociopolitical and psychological stability in the Pskov Region. Participants in the study were citizens permanently residing in the Pskov Region who by age and social characteristics represented the population structure of a part of that region. In total, 52 persons aged 17 to 69, with an average age of 42.3, participated.
The technique used was focus groups. A content analysis was made of the answers received in the focus-group sessions. During these sessions, participants could freely share their views on questions asked by the facilitators who had a college-level psychological education. In each group, two facilitators worked cooperatively. One facilitator was in charge of group dynamics; the other was in charge of asking all the questions covered as well as of keeping track of all the substantial aspects of the conversation. This arrangement encouraged the participants to discuss issues of the region in an open manner.
The findings allowed us to classify all the migrants and potential migrants in the Pskov Region according to their reasons and motives for migration. For example, in the Plyussa settlement, which is “depressed” and remote from the region’s center, migrants seek to escape their extreme poverty and unemployment; they can be called “survival migrants.” In the “favored” central area, the city of Pskov, migrants seek to significantly increase their income level and improve their quality of life. We can describe them as “migrants seeking new opportunities.” In a border area, the town of Gdov, people living in close proximity to other countries (Estonia, Latvia) compare their financial situation and opportunities with those of their foreign neighbors. Migrants living in Gdov tend to move because they want to avoid an environmental crisis or progressive degradation of the environment, structural unemployment, and poor economic opportunities. We can call them “migrants in search of hope and prosperity.”
In the Pskov Region, the labor (economic) situation is a typical reason for migration. Migration for economic reasons is a resettlement of people for the purpose of employment and proper remuneration. Labor migration can have such causes as a desire to change one’s job, as well as sociocultural, housing, environmental, nature, climate, and other conditions. Without a developed economy and social sphere, regions are able to prevent only elderly or incapacitated people from migrating. To retain the younger generation, it is necessary to inform people of all the possible difficulties that potential migrants may face and to make systematic and large-scale efforts to develop the region, to improve the image of the region (including encouraging the residents to be proud of and to cherish the region’s heritage and its people’s achievements), and to create a comfortable environment.
Keywords: migration processes, reasons for migration, potential migrants, the Pskov Region.
Background. In psychology, analyzing the problem of personality is closely connected with the search for a methodology to describe personality in all its diversity. The dispositional approach, which is based on identifying stable personality traits, has resulted today in the dominance of a structural-functional approach. It has the advantage that it allows comparative analysis and the juxtaposition of specific personality characteristics inherent in the underlying construct, but it also has the limitation that it is inadequate for the study of personality as a dynamic structure, one capable of changing as the world around it changes.
Objective. To analyze and systematize the empirical studies of recent years in the field of personality psychology in order to identify and describe the principal trends in the study of the phenomenology of personality, reflecting distinctive features of human existence in the modern world.
Design. The method of research included a meta-analysis of reports (N = 1,149) from three European conferences on personality: the 17th European Conference on Personality (2014), Lausanne, Switzerland; the 18th European Conference on Personality (2016), Romania; the 19th European Conference on Personality (2018), Zadar, Croatia. We also describe the changeability of personality characteristics in the context of the individual’s life, on the basis of meta-analytical databases compiled by Roberts et al. (2006) and Wrzus et al. (2016).
Results. The results demonstrate the continuing domination of structural methodology in empirical studies of personality, despite the criticism to which it has been subjected. However, the number of studies of various aspects of dynamic personality processes is growing. Research reflecting the phenomenology of everyday life is expanding, as studies of daily human behavior, life events, and life situations are increasing proportionally. Researchers’ attention is being drawn to diverse contexts of life: the environment, culture, relationships. Data collection technologies are changing: Digital devices enable information about personality to be obtained online, tracking all the diversity of personality in different situations, its changeability and dynamism. Metadata indicate the changeability of personality traits that have long been considered stable: extraversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness. The dynamics of personality traits are essentially determined by the context of a person’s life and vary depending on changes in that life. The continuity of these changes is processual and does not fit into the structural approach.
Conclusion. Modern personality psychology has contradictory trends. On the one hand, especially in empirical research, the traditional structural-functional paradigm for describing the personality remains influential, while attempts are made to improve it in response to criticism. On the other hand, an increasing number of studies are devoted to the study of real people in the real world, confronting the challenges of a changing world. A growing amount of empirical data describing the dynamic personality, changing in time and space, necessitates theoretical understanding and the search for a methodology relevant to the study of the changing personality.
Keywords: personality psychology, dynamic personality, structuralfunctional approach, processual approach