Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Background. The background of the present study includes analysis of the understanding of active and passive grammatical constructions (GCs) in Russianspeaking aphasic patients and in children aged 3, 4 and 5 years (Akhutina, 1989; Akhutina, Velichkovskiy, & Kempe, 1988). Data regarding the reorganization of the children’s strategies are further compared to GC understanding in children speaking different languages, and their interpretations.
Objective. To analyze the variable mechanisms of understanding of reversible GCs in primary-school-age children, namely, to reveal individual differences in reliance on word order or case endings.
Design. Ninety-three first-graders, 93 second-graders, and 63 third-graders underwent a neuropsychological assessment and computer-based sentence-topicture test of their understanding of reversible GCs of active/passive voice with direct/reverse word order. The “productivity” of understanding GCs (percent of correct responses) was analyzed through cluster analysis.
Results. The cluster analysis divided the children into four clusters. Cluster 1 consisted of eight children with low productivity, who were excluded from further analysis. Cluster 2 was characterized by low productivity in passive direct constructions (Group 1); Cluster 3 comprised children who had low productivity in passive reverse sentences (Group 2). Cluster 4 included children with good understanding of all GCs (Group 3). Between-group differences in productivity and time of correct responses in GCs, as well as neuropsychological indexes, were revealed.
Conclusion. The results are consistent with the following hypotheses: (a) Group 1 relies on the rule “The first noun is the agent”, whereas the other two groups use morphological marking; (b) Group 1 is the weakest neuropsychologically, and syntactic understanding processes involve a more diffuse activation of the brain in this group, compared to more successful children; (c) changes in response times from the first to the second grade are under the influence of cerebral changes induced by reading acquisition.
Keywords: neuropsychology, individual differences, comprehension, grammatical constructions, children
Background. Spearman’s law of diminishing returns (SLODR) states that intercorrelations between scores on tests of intellectual abilities were higher when the data set was comprised of subjects with lower intellectual abilities and vice versa. After almost a hundred years of research, this trend has only been detected on average.
Objective. To determine whether the very different results were obtained due to variations in scaling and the selection of subjects.
Design. We used three methods for SLODR detection based on moderated factor analysis (MFCA) to test real data and three sets of simulated data. Of the latter group, the first one simulated a real SLODR effect. The second one simulated the case of a different density of tasks of varying difficulty; it did not have a real SLODR effect. The third one simulated a skewed selection of respondents with different abilities and also did not have a real SLODR effect. We selected the simulation parameters so that the correlation matrix of the simulated data was similar to the matrix created from the real data, and all distributions had similar skewness parameters (about -0.3).
Results. The results of MFCA are contradictory and we cannot clearly distinguish by this method the dataset with real SLODR from datasets with similar correlation structure and skewness, but without a real SLODR effect. Theresults allow us to conclude that when effects like SLODR are very subtle and can be identified only with a large sample, then features of the psychometric scale become very important, because small variations of scale metrics may lead either to masking of real SLODR or to false identification of SLODR.
Keywords: intelligence; Spearman’s law of diminishing returns; mathematical modeling; structural modelling; structure of intelligence
Background. The school environment influences a child's well-being in different ways, not only by education but also by forming social roles, habits, and stress responses. It provides the sources of stress as well as the sources of resilience.
Objective. This study examines the variety of coping strategies of adolescents attending different educational institutions and the different trajectories in the adaptation process in different educational environments.
Design. This paper examined the coping strategies, optimism, and subjective well-being of students in different educational environments. Three schools were represented, and 646 adolescents between 12-17 years old participated in the study. The measures included the Ways of Coping Checklist, The Life Orientation Test, and The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale.
Results. Coping strategies used by students attending different schools significantly differ in their intensiveness of use and age distribution. However, optimism and subjective well-being are higher among older adolescents and do not depend on the educational environment.
Conclusion. The differences in the coping strategies preferred by the adolescents in different types of schools reflect their adaptation to the different environmental demands, which is confirmed by the same level of subjective well-being and optimism in different environments. However, their repertoires of coping strategies are not analogous: the students in high-rated schools use more various and more constructive coping strategies than students in low-rated schools. We may assume that their resilience and ability to cope with stress outside of school may also differ, which, in turn, can influence their further life trajectories and ability to cope with difficulties in life, perpetuating existing social inequality. Early and middle adolescents in all types of schools show a lower level of well-being and optimism than older students, which may indicate their higher psychological vulnerability and need for adult attention and support compared to older adolescents.
Keywords: Adolescence/ coping strategies/ educational environment/ school/ well-being
Background. Many studies have shown that problem-focused coping and a positive reappraisal of one’s situation are the most conducive to achieving life goals and psychological well-being, whereas avoidance coping and self-blame have a negative impact on well-being. But there is not enough data on what the predictors of these coping strategies are in the situational context.
Objective. To assess the combined influence of subjective appraisal (uncontrollability, unclearness, negative emotions) and orientations in difficult situations (by drive and rejection) on planful problem solving, positive reappraisal, wishful thinking (fantasizing), and self-blame.
Design. The research has a survey design. The sample consisted of 637 adult participants who analyzed difficult situations in their lives associated with achieving significant life goals of various types (N = 637; 60% female; Mage = 24.2; SD = 6.25). Two alternative structural models were assessed, which include subjective appraisals of the situation (uncontrollability, unclearness, intensity of negative emotions), orientations in difficult situations (drive and rejection), and ways of coping (planful problem-solving, positive reappraisal, wishful thinking, and self-blame).
Results. The first model, in which all cognitive appraisals and orientations in difficult situations directly influence coping strategies, has relatively low fit indices. The second model, in which the influence of cognitive appraisal was partially mediated by orientations in difficult situations, has better fit indices. In life situations involving solution of a difficult task, the strongest predictor of problem-focused coping and positive reappraisal is the “drive” orientation of being attracted to difficulties, which mediates the influence of subjective control and emotions on these ways of coping. An orientation away from difficulties, “rejection,” mediates the influence of unclearness and negative emotions on fantasizing and self-blame. A low level of subjective control directly affects self-blame and the avoidance of problem-solving. Negative emotions are a weak predictor of self-blame.
Conclusion. Interaction between the subject and the situation involves appraisal of difficulty, which influences orientation in difficult situations. In turn, orientations are predictors of coping strategies. The characteristics of the psychological situation determine coping, which may be oriented toward approach to or avoidance of the goal.
Keywords: Cognitive appraisal/ ways of coping/ planful problem-solving/ positive reappraisal/ wishful thinking/ self-blame/ approach coping/ avoidance coping/ life situation