Magazine article Curriculum Review

A Positive Attitude at School Can Influence Learning, Study Says

Magazine article Curriculum Review

A Positive Attitude at School Can Influence Learning, Study Says

Article excerpt

While teachers may have known this all along, a new study from Stanford University has confirmed that students' attitude about learning may be just as important as their IQ.

In a study of elementary school students, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the hippocampus--an important memory center in the brain--during performance of math problems, noted a news release from the university.

The researchers studied 240 children ages 7 to 10 and found that being positive improved their ability to answer math problems, increased their memories and enhanced their problem-solving abilities. They also used MRI brain scans to map the neurological effects of positivity.

The Power of Positivity

The researchers found that, even once IQ and other factors were accounted for, a positive attitude toward math still predicted which students had stronger math performance--that their attitude may have been just as influential as their IQ.

The study is published in the Jan. 24, 2018, issue of Psychological Science.

"Attitude is really important," said Lang Chen, PhD, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral scholar in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "Based on our data, the unique contribution of positive attitude to math achievement is as large as the contribution from IQ."

But the study could not determine the extent to which a positive attitude came from a child's prior success in math. …

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