Lomonosov Moscow State University
Background. Situations that are characterized by unexpected scenarios, unpredictable developments, and risks to life and health facilitate beliefs in conspiracy theories. These beliefs – together with reliable information, intentional and unintentional misinformation and rumors – determine attitudes toward the situations and ways to overcome them.
Objective. To examine the effect of belief in conspiracy theories on the recognition of the need for quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic; the effect of personality traits on belief in conspiracy theories and on the recognition of the need for quarantine; the relationship of belief in conspiracy theories with assessment of the dangers of COVID-19 and with feelings of hopelessness.
Design. The study was conducted over a period when the number of coronavirus cases was growing, during the first three weeks of the lockdown in Russia. The sample included 667 undergraduate and graduate students aged 16–31 (M = 20.44, SD = 2.38); 74.2% of the participants were women. Respondents filled out two online questionnaires. The first related to perceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic; the second was a brief HEXACO inventory.
Results. Belief in Conspiracy Theories accounts for 13% of variance in Recognition of the Need for Quarantine; together with Dangers of COVID-19 and Hopelessness, conspiracy beliefs account for more than a quarter of the variance. Personality traits defined in the context of the 6-factor personality model have a small effect on conspiracy beliefs about the coronavirus and on perception of the need for quarantine.
Conclusion. Belief in conspiracy theories is associated not only with irrational views of reality, but also with the adoption of ineffective behaviors.
Keywords: COVID-19, conspiracy theories, quarantine, dangers of the coronavirus, hopelessness, HEXACO
Academic achievement, which is inherently an indicator of progress in the curriculum, can also be viewed as an indirect measure of cognitive development, social adaptation, and motivational climate characteristics. In addition to its direct application, academic achievement is used as a mediating factor in the study of various phenomena, from the etiology of learning disabilities to social inequality. Analysis of sex differences in mathematical achievement is considered particularly important for exploring academic achievement, since creating an adequate educational environment with equal opportunities for boys and girls serves as a prerequisite for improving the overall mathematical and technical literacy that is crucial for modern society, creates balanced professional opportunities, and destroys traditional stereotypes about the roles of men and women in society.
The objective of our research was to analyze sex differences in mathematical achievement among high school students and to compare various methods for diagnosing academic performance, such as school grades, test scores, and self-concept.
The results were obtained through two population studies whose samples are representative of the Russian population in the relevant age group. Study 1 looked at sex differences in math grades among twins (n = 1,234 pairs) and singletons (n = 2,227) attending high school. The sample of Study 2 comprised all twins who took the Unified State Examination in 2010–2012. The research analyzed sex differences in USE math scores across the entire sample and within the extreme subgroups. It also explored differences between boys and girls in opposite-sex dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs.
The key results were as follows. No difference in mathematical achievement was observed between twins and singletons. Sex differences were found in all measures of mathematical achievement. Girls had higher school grades in math than boys, while boys outperformed girls in USE math scores. Boys were more variable and there were more boys at the right tail of the distribution. Girls with a positive math self-concept did better than boys on math tests. In groups of opposite-sex DZ twins, differences between the USE math scores of girls and boys were not significant.
The results obtained are presumed to correspond more closely to assumptions about the roles of non-cognitive factors of variation in mathematical ability than the mathematical ability theory.
Keywords: mathematical achievement, sex differences, school grades, math tests, selfconcept