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Are motivational benefits of adequately challenging schoolwork related to students’ need for cognition, cognitive ability, or both?

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

One important predictor of students’ intrinsic motivation and schoolwork engagement is the balance between schoolwork difficulty and student skill level, such that students are adequately challenged. However, thequestion arises whether this is equally true for all students or whether there are students for whom having adequately challenging schoolwork is even more important than for others. In this study, we investigated whether students’ cognitive ability and their need for cognition (i.e., their tendency to actively seek, engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activity) affects students’ motivational responses to adequately challenging schoolwork. Building on data from a large-scale survey among 3002 Flemish 7th graders, we found that adequately challenging schoolwork had a more favorable effect on intrinsic motivation and schoolworkengagement for students high in need for cognition than for students low in need for cognition. Student cognitive ability did not moderate the association between adequate challenge and motivational outcomes. The findings are discussed in light of school engagement and intellectual investment theory.
Tijdschrift: Personality and Individual Differences
ISSN: 0191-8869
Volume: 171
Pagina's: 1 - 5
Jaar van publicatie:2021