Intellectual development is positively related to intrinsic motivation and course grades for female but not male students

Ronald N. Cortright, Heidi L. Lujan, Julie H. Cox, Maria A. Cortright, Brandon M. Langworthy, Lorene M. Petta, Charles J. Tanner, Stephen E. DiCarlo
2015 Advances in Physiology Education  
Cortright RN, Lujan HL, Cox JH, Cortright MA, Langworthy BM, Petta LM, Tanner CJ, DiCarlo SE. Intellectual development is positively related to intrinsic motivation and course grades for female but not male students. We hypothesized that the intellectual development of students, i.e., their beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, affects their intrinsic motivation and class performance. Specifically, we hypothesized that students with low intellectual development (i.e., the naive
more » ... (i.e., the naive beliefs that knowledge is simple, absolute, and certain) have low intrinsic motivation and low class performance, whereas students with high intellectual development (i.e., more sophisticated beliefs that knowledge is complex, tentative, and evolving) have high intrinsic motivation and class performance. To test this hypothesis, we administered the Learning Context Questionnaire to measure intellectual development. In addition, we administered the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory to assess our students' intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, we performed regression analyses between intellectual development with both intrinsic motivation and class performance. The results document a positive relationship among intellectual development, intrinsic motivation, and class performance for female students only. In sharp contrast, there was a negative relationship between intellectual development, intrinsic motivation, and class performance for male students. The slope comparisons documented significant differences in the slopes relating intellectual development, intrinsic motivation, and class performance between female and male students. Thus, female students with more sophisticated beliefs that knowledge is personally constructed, complex, and evolving had higher intrinsic motivation and class performance. In contrast, male students with the naive beliefs that the structure of knowledge is simple, absolute, and certain had higher levels of intrinsic motivation and class performance. The results suggest that sex influences intellectual development, which has an effect on intrinsic motivation for learning a specific topic.
doi:10.1152/advan.00117.2014 pmid:26330034 fatcat:fg23pyfqhndjbkbx5tkvvfn3z4