The present issue of Psychology in Russia: State of the Art addresses a wide range of problems that prompt current research efforts of Russian psychologists. It opens with an impressive psychophysiological study in human visual cognition that provides insights from an extensive analysis of imagination performed by Vitaly M. Verkhlyutov, Vadim L. Ushakov, Pavel A. Sokolov and Boris M. Velichkovsky B.M.
Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, Volume 7, Issue 4, 2014, Psychology in Russia: State of the Art
Large-scale network analysis of imagination reveals extended but limited top-down components in human visual cognition
We investigated whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation in a group of 21 healthy adult subjects during perception, imagination and remembering of two dynamic visual scenarios. Activation of the posterior parts of the cortex prevailed when watching videos. The cognitive tasks of imagination and remembering were accompanied by a predominant activity in the anterior parts of the cortex. An independent component analysis identified seven large-scale cortical networks with relatively invariant spatial distributions across all experimental conditions. The time course of their activation over experimental sessions was task-dependent. These detected networks can be interpreted as a recombination of resting state networks. Both central and peripheral networks were identified within the primary visual cortex. The central network around the caudal pole of BA17 and centers of other visual areas was activated only by direct visual stimulation, while the peripheral network responded to the presentation of visual information as well as to the cognitive tasks of imagination and remembering. The latter result explains the particular susceptibility of peripheral and twilight vision to cognitive top-down influences that often result in false-alarm detections.
A museum is valued according to its collections, communication and knowledge exchange with visitors (Primo, 1999). Museums should be in dialogue with the public, contributing to their development (Skramstad, 2004) and collective memory (Wertsch, 2004). Social interactions and working in participants’ zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1934/1962) play an important role in non-formal learning opportunities that take place at museums. The National Museum of Natural History and Science (Lisbon University) offers weekly holiday programmes for children and teenagers, aiming at developing scientific literacy in intercultural and inclusive spaces and times, facilitating knowledge appropriation and social participation. We studied these programmes, assuming an interpretive approach (Denzin, 2002) and developing an intrinsic case study (Stake, 1995). The main participants were these children and teenagers, their parents, and museum educational agents. Data collecting instruments included observation, interviews, questionnaires, children and teenagers’ protocols and tasks inspired in projective techniques. Data treatment and analysis was based on a narrative content analysis (Clandinin & Connelly, 1998) from which inductive categories emerged (Hamido & César, 2009). Some examples illuminate participants’ expectancies, their engagement in activities, and the contributions of social interactions and non-formal education to the development of scientific literacy.
museum, scientific literacy, non-formal learning settings, social interactions, zone of proximal development, participation
Psychological aid in crisis and emergency situations: Psychological follow-up by emergency-related professionals
The development of contemporary society, the mass media, and new technologies improves living standards on the one hand and, on the other, enhances the risk of large-scale catastrophes, accidents, and natural disasters (Yanitsky, 2004). From year to year the number of people who survive natural disasters and human-caused accidents and catastrophes is growing, as is the number of professionals involved in disaster-relief operations, such as rescuers, medical professionals, and psychologists. The 1990s saw the intensive development of new work for psychologists: rendering psychological aid to people affected by emergencies. During that time, because of a shift in the political system and the democratization of society, these issues gained a public dimension.
The structure of their future presidents’ images among Russian and American students was studied. The general tendencies and specific features of the perception of a future president among Russian and American students were revealed. For respondents of both groups, the significant factors influencing their choice of whom to vote for were the program of the candidate, his strategic thinking, the reliability of his team, a high degree of professionalism and competence, leadership skills, the ability to speak and convince, and personal qualities. In regard to specific features, Russian students paid more attention to the business qualities of a future president than did American students; Russian students were optimistic and considered elections capable of effecting changes in the country. American students showed less interest in political events, along with the professional qualities of the leader; they paid attention to his appearance and believed that elections can affect the private life of people.
perception of a political leader, political image, president’s image
Childhood obesity is one of the most dangerous pathologies; it can lead to serious illness in the absence of medical support. In this article we give an overview of the use of videogames for reducing and normalizing the weight of overweight and obese children. We discuss the categorization of the existing games and their limits, and we outline the perspectives of psychopedagogical research in the domain of game design for treating obese and overweight children. The role of long-term motivation in the treatment of obesity is one of the crucial questions we discuss. We try to understand how videogames can help children and parents maintain motivation during weight-loss treatment. The role of parents is undeniable in ensuring the success of weight-loss programs for overweight or obese children. Perhaps videogames can be the instrument for families’ lifestyle changes.
In this paper, we developed a psychological model of digital competence including four components (knowledge, skills, motivation and responsibility) and four spheres (work with online content, communication, technical activity and consumption). The Digital Competence Index (DCI) is a 52-item instrument assessing an index and an entire profile of digital competence. In the Russian population study (1203 adolescents 12-17 years old and 1209 parents), acceptable reliability (.72-.90 for all of the scales, except motivation) of DCI was demonstrated. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the superiority of the four-component structure with the second-order index. Mean DCI was 34% of the maximally possible level in adolescents and 31% in parents, indicating the necessity for the educational programs in Russia. The motivation component was both the lowest and the least homogeneous factor, indicating that important special efforts to improve motivation to learn in Russian adolescents are needed.
digital competence, Digital Competence Index, Russian population study, Kids online project, online risks
Media psychology: Modern man and nonlocality of psyche
The development of modern information technologies is causing changes in the structure of the human psyche, bringing about a new psychotype. The transition to a new level of evolution is accompanied by the growing manifestation of the psyche’s ontological features — nonlocality and self-determination. From a sample of more than 300 people, it was demonstrated that active Internet users are significantly different in a number of parameters from those who mostly use traditional media. This article examines the resources of media psychology as a new paradigm in the study of mass communication phenomena and the laws of the development of psyche.
media psychology, the nonlocality of psyche, net-thinking, hacktivism, communicative openness, information security, evolution of psyche
Psychological prerequisites and effects of using multimedia content in the mass media
The author of the article argues that multimedia content can be used not only for entertainment purposes, but also may help achieve various psychological effects on the audience. The paper provides a brief overview of the psychological research performed in the field of multimedia perception and describes the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. The article analyses two phenomena that may be regarded as prerequisites for the emergence of multimedia as a new technology: multimodality of human perception and so-called polyphony of reality. Multimedia content affects various sensory systems and thus imitates the real world, which is full of stimuli from various modalities. The author also highlights a range of psychological effects that may accompany the usage of multimedia content in the mass media.
multimedia content, media perception, psychological effects, multimodality of perception, media psychology
Teachers’ notions about their communicative competencies
This article describes the results of four empirical research studies of teachers’ notions about effective conduct in various pedagogical situations and about communicative competencies, which can help in resolving difficult pedagogical problems. The findings indicate that teachers’ ideas concerning their professional conduct and communicative competencies are rather positive. The majority of teachers identify their conduct in difficult pedagogical situations with that of an “ideal” teacher. At the same time, the results received when the semantic differential was used revealed the ambiguous character of teachers’ assessments of their own communicative competencies. Psychological training focused on deepening teachers’ notions about communicative culture was carried out. As a result of the training, teachers’ notions about their own communicative competencies changed.
communicative competencies, communicative behavior, teachers’ notions, psychological training for teachers
The professional world and professional activity of a medical university lecturer
Questions connected to the correlation of such notions as “image of the world” (A. N. Leontiev) and “invariant image of the world” (A. A. Leontiev) are considered. The proposition that professional activity is one of the bases for distinguishing invariant images of the world is substantiated. Based on the analysis of the professional activity of lecturers in medical institute clinical faculties, the notion “professional view of the world,” which reflects professional activity in an invariant image of the world, is introduced. The necessity for specifying the notion “professional view of the world” and introducing the notion “professional world,” describing professional measurement of the living space of medical institute lecturers, is also shown; the structure-forming components of this notion are singled out. It is also shown that the systems of relations by which the professional world is determined are by nature meaning relations (D. A. Leontiev).
image of the world, invariant image of the world, professional view of the world, professional world, meaning relations
Research potential and cognitive features of students
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.
research activity, research behavior, research potential, cognitive activity, cognitive features of students