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psihologija

YU ISSN 0048-5705

UDC 159.9

Vol. 43 (3) 215–353

SADRŽAJ / CONTENTS

EFFECTS OF PROFICIENCY AND AGE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION ON WORKING MEMORY PERFORMANCE IN BILINGUALS

Dušan Vejnović, Petar Milin, and Sunčica Zdravković

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THE EFFECTS OF MATCHING A PERSUASIVE MESSAGE

 

TO A RECIPIENT’S SELF-CONCEPT ON ATTITUDE CHANGE

 

Marija Branković and Iris Žeželj

 

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233

COGNITIVE REACTIVITY TO SAD MOOD:

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST DEPRESSIVE EPISODE Zorica Marić and Tatjana

 

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DAROVITI PODBACIVAČ U ŠKOLI: NEKO KO IMA PROBLEM, ILI „BUNTOVNIK“ KOJI PRAVI PROBLEM? Vitomir Jovanović, Pregrad Teovanović, Tatjana Mentus i Milina Petrović

 

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WORKING WOMEN’S ROLES IN SLOVENIA:

 

CONFLICT OR ENRICHMENT?

 

Eva

Boštjančič .

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281

CONSTRUCTION OF SELF IN CHILDREN’S DAYDREAMING NARRATIVES: STORY OF TWO GENERATIONS Jelena Pavlović, Jasmina Šefer, and Dejan Stanković

 

301

DELOVANJE KOMPONENTI AFEKTIVNE VEZANOSTI NA RAZVOJ FORMALNO-OPERACIONALNOG MIŠLJENJA

 

Branimir

Vukčević

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315

POVEZANOST OBRADE REČI RAZLIČITE AFEKTIVNE VALENCE I BAZIČNE STRUKTURE LIČNOSTI

 

Ana

Orlić .

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329

PSIHOLOGIJA, 2010, Vol. 43 (3), © 2010 by the Serbian Psychological Association

UDC 159.953-057.875 ; 81’246.2-057.875 DOI: 10.2298/PSI1003219V

Effects of proficiency and age of language acquisition on working memory performance in bilinguals

Dušan Vejnović 1 , Petar Milin, 1&2 and Sunčica Zdravković 1&21

1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia 2 Laboratory for Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

This study examined language proficiency and age of language acquisition influences on working memory performance in bilinguals. Bilingual subjects were administered reading span task in parallel versions for their first and second language. In Experiment 1, language proficiency effect was tested by examination of low and highly proficient second language speakers. In Experiment 2, age of language acquisition was examined by comparing the performance of proficient second language speakers who acquired second language either early or later in their lives. Both proficiency and age of language acquisition were found to affect bilingual working memory performance, and the proficiency effect was observed even at very high levels of language competence. The results support the notion of working memory as a domain that is influenced both by a general pool of resources and certain domain specific factors.

Key words: working memory, bilingualism, language proficiency, age of acquisition, reading span.

Bilingualism today is more of a rule than an exception, since at least half of the world’s population is bilingual (Grosjean, 1989). Consequently, the research of bilingual cognitive functioning had been receiving increasing attention in past twenty years. The majority of the studies in the field tackled the questions of long-term memory organization, lexical storing, access and retrieval, bilingual language production, etc. (cf. Costa, La Heij, & Navarrete, 2006, French & Jacquet, 2004; Schwartz, & Kroll, 2007). Although the idea of connections between immediate memory capacities and bilingualism is not a new one (cf. Kolers, 1963; Weinreich, 1953), the number of studies addressing this subject is considerably smaller. Working memory – more specifically its verbal component, phonological loop – is seen as a system of critical importance in the process of language

Corresponding author: dvejnovi@uns.ac.rs

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acquisition (Baddeley, Gathercole, & Papagno, 1998; Gathercole & Pickering, 2000). In this view, the role of phonological loop in recollection of familiar phonological material (known words or numbers) is regarded as a byproduct of the development of a system whose primary function is the acquisition of new phonological material (i.e. new language). Though the previous statement renders the significance of working memory for people acquiring the second language (future bilinguals) evident, connections between bilingualism and working memory go beyond the language acquisition processes. There are a vast number of studies showing that long-term knowledge affects immediate memory performance (for an overview, see Thorn, Frankish & Gathercole, 2008). These influences are argued to be both phonological (e.g. Conrad & Hull, 1964; Gathercole, Frankish, Pickering, & Peaker, 1999) and lexical/semantic (e.g. Hulme, Maughan, & Brown, 1991; Hulme et al., 1997; Poirier & Saint Aubin, 1995) in nature. Since bilinguals typically differ in linguistic knowledge of the first (L1) and second language (L2) it is important to investigate the effect these differences on the working memory performance in two languages. The question of concern here is whether a person acquired the first and then the second language (using the phonological loop system), exhibits different working memory performance in the two languages, and what factors might possibly drive those differences. Another potentially interesting question, both for actual models of working memory (e.g. Baddeley, 2003) and bilingual educational practice, is whether the acquisition of L2 might have backward effect on working memory functioning in L1. In other words, could the functioning of verbal working memory, or perhaps even working memory in general, be improved by the L2 acquisition? Current notions of working memory do not predict such an outcome, and they would need to be revised in case of positive effect of L2 acquisition on working memory. Present study had two specific goals. The first one was to examine the influence of language proficiency on verbal working memory performance in bilinguals’ L2. Language proficiency in L2 is known to affect L2 processing from the levels as low as the individual word recognition. For example, Favreau and Segalowitz (1983) showed that highly proficient bilinguals exhibited greater semantic priming than less proficient bilinguals, especially at short stimulus onset asynchrony intervals. Whether, and to which extent, the proficiency effect is present in the verbal working memory operation is still unclear, as the previous findings have not been unanimous. In an early study of Harrington and Sawyer (1992) native (L1) Japanese speakers with upper-intermediate to advanced proficiency in L2 English were tested on a version of reading span task of Daneman and Carpenter (1980). The subjects exhibited no differences in working memory span in L1 and L2. However, significant correlation between L2 proficiency and working memory span in L2 was observed in the same study, suggesting that the issue required further inquiry. Moreover, the same study reported of moderate correlations between L1 and L2 working memory

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spans (higher correlations were found in Osaka and Osaka, 1992 and Miyake and Friedman, 1998). These findings were compatible with the capacity theory of comprehension (Just & Carpenter, 1992). More recently, Service, Simola, Metsaenheimo and Maury (2002) examined two groups of Finnish-English

bilinguals. The task in this study was to memorize the last words of the auditively presented sentences while judging their correspondence with the pictures that were shown. No difference between L1 and L2 working memory spans was found in

a group of highly proficient L2 speakers. However, significantly lower working

memory spans in L2, as compared to L1 spans, were registered in a group of less proficient L2 speakers. These results suggested that proficiency effect does exist, but that it can only be observed at lower levels of L2 proficiency. Investigating the same issue, Van den Noort, Bosch and Hugdahl (2006) conducted a study that examined working memory functioning of trilinguals. Their subjects were native (L1) Dutch speakers who spoke fluent German (L2) 1 and less-fluent Norwegian

language (L3). These subjects performed better on the L1 reading span task, as compared to the L2 task, and their performance in L2 was better than in L3. Accordingly, the study confirmed the language proficiency affects working memory performance. However, the study of Van den Noort et al. showed that the effect might not be exclusive feature of insufficiently proficient language processing. Contrary to the findings of Service et al. (2002), the study suggested that the effect of language proficiency might be a more comprehensive one, and

that it could be registered in fluent speakers of foreign language, too. In the same vein, an fMRI study by Chee, Soon, Lee and Pallier (2004) reported proficiency effect in patterns of brain activation during auditory n-back task. Recent studies, thus, generally support the view of some kind of dependence of verbal working memory performance on language proficiency. Whether this dependence is only present in less proficient L2 speakers, meaning that there is some proficiency threshold beyond which the effect is not observed, is still unclear. Alternatively,

it might be the case that the proficiency is influencing verbal working memory

performance even in highly competent L2 speakers. This dilemma is addressed in our Experiment 1. The second goal of our study was to examine the age of language acquisition effects on verbal working memory performance. Relevance of age of acquisition factor was extensively explored and documented in different areas of psycholinguistics, especially after the influential study of Morrison and Ellis (1995) which showed that early-acquired words are processed faster than the later acquired ones, even after controlling for the frequency effect. Effects of age of acquisition on the word level language processing were shown in different experimental paradigms: naming (e.g. Brysbaert & Ghyselinck, 2006), lexical decision (Morrison & Ellis, 2000), semantic categorization task

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222 MEMORY PERFORMANCE IN BILINGUALS

(Brysbaert, Van Wijendaele & De Deyne, 2000), etc. Several reported studies explored the effects of age of acquisition in the second language, as well. Mainly motivated by the pursuit of the critical period for language acquisition, these showed clear differences in processing of L2 words in function of their age of acquisition. For example, Silverberg and Samuel (2004) found effects of L2 semantic priming in early, but not in late bilinguals. Their results suggested that early bilinguals might have unitary conceptual system, whereas late bilinguals use separate conceptual systems for each of their languages. Abundant research on age of acquisition in past two decades demonstrated this factor affects various aspects of language processing, yet thus far no study investigated whether the age of acquisition of a particular language might be a factor relevant for the working memory processing in that language. On the other hand, bilingual working memory research, as commented, focused principally on the examination of the language proficiency effect. In our Experiment 2, we made the first exploratory step in examining the possibility of independent influence of the age of language acquisition on verbal working memory performance.

EXPERIMENT 1

The goal of Experiment 1 was an elaborate examination of the effect of second language proficiency on working memory performance in bilinguals.

Method

Participants: Thirty-one first year students of psychology at the University of Novi Sad took part in this experiment. Out of all first year psychology students, those with the lowest and the highest scores on the placement test of English language (Quick Paper and Pen Test, 2001) were chosen for the experiment 2 . Selected students formed the less proficient (LP) and the high proficient (HP) experimental groups. All subjects spoke Serbian as their native language (L1), and English as their second language (L2). Groups were of the similar age (M LP = 20; M HP = 20.5; t(29) = 0.877, p > 0.05), did not differ in age at which they began L2 acquisition

(M LP = 10.6; M HP = 9.6; t(27.394) = 1.466, p > 0.05), nor duration of L2 learning (M LP = 9.87;

= 10.69; t(21.731) = –0.852, p > 0.05). 3 All 15 subjects from the LP group attended the

M HP

lowest offered level of the English course (pre-intermediate), while the HP subjects attended the most advanced level of English course offered (upper-intermediate) or were exempt from the course due to very high English competence. Mean English test scores were 27.2 and 45.94 (out of 60) for the LP and the HP group, respectively. Difference between them was

significant (t(29) = –18.224, p < 0.01).

2 The placement test is regularly administered to all first year students in order to assign them to study groups with similar English competence level for their English language course. The test is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions that examine the knowledge of English grammar, vocabulary and comprehension and is valid criterion for the English language competence selection (Radić-Bojanić, 2008).

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Tasks: Subjects were administered the reading span task of working memory (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980) in two parallel language variants: the Serbian and the English. The reading span task was chosen as it is the most commonly used procedure for the verbal working memory capacity assessment. The English task procedure resembled the procedures used in Waters and Caplan (1996) and Engle, Tuholski, Laughlin and Conway (1999) and was based on the findings of the study of methodological and technical aspects of the reading span task (Lalović & Vejnović, 2008). Stimuli (task elements) were presented on the computer screen one at a time. Task element consisted of a sentence, followed by the question-mark, followed by the uppercase target-word (for example: “Nigel can’t swim as fast as his younger window and his friends can. ? FLOWER”). Subjects were asked to read out loud each sentence the moment it appears on the screen, say “yes” if the sentence made sense or “no” if it did not 4 , and read and memorize following target-word. When this was done presentation of the next element was activated by the experimenter. After the presentation of several elements, three question-marks would appear on the screen notifying the subject to pass to the reproduction phase in which he was instructed to write all the target-words from the previous trial in the response sheet. Reproduction phase was then succeeded by the presentation of next trial, and the presentation and reproduction phases would alternate until the end of experiment. The experiment consisted of twelve trials (sequences of elements between two reproduction phases), and trial size (2–5) was calculated as the number of elements in a given trial. Total number of elements in the experiment was 42, so that trials of each size were administered three times within the experiment. The order of the presentation of trials was randomized so the subject could not know the timing of the next recollection phase. The Serbian version of the task was exactly the same as the described English in all aspects save for the language employed.

Stimuli: Eleven to fifteen word long sentences, followed by target-words (nouns), were used as stimuli. They were presented on 17” computer screen, in 20pt Arial white font on dark background. In order to make the two language versions of the task parallel, the stimuli were matched for several relevant characteristics: sentence length, syntactic and vocabulary complexity 5 , target-word frequency and target-word length (as measured by the number of phonemes). Mean sentence length was 12.36 for Serbian, and 12.43 for English task; with two language variants not differing significantly (t(82) = –0,365, p > 0.05). Frequencies of the Serbian target-words were extracted from the Serbian Language Corpus (Kostić, 1999) and the English from the CELEX database (Baayen, Piepenbrock, & Gulikers, 1995). Mean target-word frequency was 266.29 occurrences per million words for Serbian, and 194.43 occurrences per million words for English target-words. This difference was not significant either (t(82) = 1.139, p > 0.05). Average number of phonemes was 4.69 in Serbian target- words and 4.38 in English target-words, and their difference was statistically insignificant (t(82) = 1.319, p > 0.05).

Design: Main analysis of Experiment 1 included L2 working memory span as a dependent variable, L2 proficiency as a categorical predictor, and L1 working memory span as a

4 Half of the sentences were made semantically implausible by substituting animate subject for inanimate. Semantic verification of the sentences was introduced in order to make sure the sentences were read for comprehension.

5 In the pilot examination it was ensured that syntactic complexity and vocabulary of the selected sentences were appropriate for the low-proficiency level of L2. Half of the sentences were then kept for the English version of the task, and the other half was translated for the use in the L1 (Serbian) version of the task.

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continuous covariate predictor. Additionally, ANOVA and hierarchical regression models were performed (see the results section) and within-group comparison of the L1 and L2 working memory span was made for each of the groups. Working memory spans were operationalized as an average proportion of correctly reproduced elements of all trials. For each trial, an index representing the number of correctly reproduced elements divided by trial size was calculated. Final score was obtained as the sum of all the indices, divided by total number of trials in the experiment (12), and the reading span index took the values between 0 and 1.

Procedure: Two language versions of the task were administered individually in one session. The order of administration was balanced and had no effect on results. The DMDX software v.3.2.5.4 (Forster & Forster, 2003) was used for the presentation of the stimuli. Average duration of the session was around 25 minutes.

Results Correlations between the English test scores and the reading span measures in two languages were calculated together for subjects from the two groups. The span scores in two language versions of the task were highly and positively

correlated (r(29) = 0.647, p < 0.01) 6 . The English test scores were significantly correlated with working memory span in English task (r(29) = 0.432, p < 0.05), but not with the span in the Serbian version of the task (r(29) = 0.199,

p > 0.05). Mean working memory spans and standard deviations for two groups of subjects are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Means and standard deviations of L1 and L2 spans for two groups of subjects.

Group

Span

M

SD

Less proficient

L1

0.596

0.104

L2

0.461

0.078

Highly proficient

L1

0.639

0.112

L2

0.543

0.102

Proficiency effect on L2 span was examined by linear modeling (ANCOVA design). Significant main effect of proficiency level on L2 reading span task performance was registered (F(1, 28) = 5.022, p < 0.05) even after controlling for the covariate L1 span effect (F(1, 28) = 18.760, p < 0.01). Additional test

showed that unique contribution of proficiency level was significant (R 2 = 0.12, F(1, 29) = 4.955, p < 0.05), after L1 span effect was accounted for. At the same time, effect of proficiency on L1 span was not significant (F(1, 29) = 1.21,

p > 0.05).

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In order to further inspect the proficiency effect, the reading span task performance in L1 and L2 was compared for each group of subjects. Both groups had significantly higher spans when they performed the task in their native, as compared to their second language (t(14) = 5.809, p < 0.01, for the LP group; and t(15) = 4.633, p < 0.01, for the HP group).

Discussion

Results showed that the reading span scores in L1 an L2 were highly correlated. Subjects’ reading span in L2 (English) was moderately correlated with their English knowledge test scores, while, expectedly, English knowledge test scores did not correlate with L1 working memory spans. The pattern of these correlation coefficient magnitudes is similar to the one reported in Osamu (2006). It suggests that performance on the reading span task in L2 depends both on 1) a common pool of resources that is involved in verbal working memory processing independently of the task characteristics, and, at least to some extent, on 2) the mastering of L2. Subjects from the highly proficient L2 group performed substantially better on the L2 task than their less proficient matches, while the two groups’ performance in L1 was comparable. Importantly, the effect of proficiency level on L2 performance remained significant even after the L1 performance influences were statistically partialled out, and its unique contribution improved the model significantly. Thus, Experiment 1 showed that language proficiency influences working memory performance in L2. Additionally, Experiment 1 also showed that both experimental groups were more successful when faced with the reading span task in L1 (Serbian) than when performing the same task in L2 (English). Better L1 performance of the less proficient group can easily be attributed to their higher proficiency in L1, as compared to proficiency in L2. Yet more importantly, similar claim could be made for the highly proficient L2 subjects, too, for their L1 proficiency is arguably superior to their L2 proficiency, as well. Consequently, it could be concluded that the proficiency effect is not exclusive feature of the non-proficient language processing. Our results showed that it can be spotted even in highly proficient L2 speakers. However, there is an alternative explanation for the subjects’ superior L1 performance (that is particularly relevant for the highly proficient group). As described, our subjects started acquiring L2 (English) at the age of nine or ten – at the time they already were reasonably competent L1 (Serbian) speakers. Therefore, it perhaps might be the case that the difference in the performance in two languages that was observed in highly proficient subjects was not (only) due to their superior proficiency in L1, but (at least partly) due to the difference in the age at which they had acquired those languages. This issue was addressed in our Experiment 2.

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EXPERIMENT 2

The main goal of Experiment 2 was to examine effect of age of language acquisition on verbal working memory performance in bilinguals.

Method

Participants: A group of 15 subjects, students of psychology or Serbian language for ethnic minorities, participated in Experiment 2. Their native language was Hungarian and they all spoke fluent Serbian, as a language of the community they live in. The results of this group (the early acquired – EA group) were contrasted with the data obtained from the highly proficient L2 speakers of Experiment 1 (the later acquired – LA group). Both of the groups, thus, were comprised of proficient L2 speakers. Importantly, the groups matched in L2 proficiency self-assessments on a ten-point Likert scale (M LA = 7.31; M EA = 8; t(29) = 1.92; p > 0.05) and crucially differed in the age at which they had started L2 acquisition (M LA = 9; M EA = 4, t(29) = 6.680, p < 0.01).

Tasks: Two language versions of the reading span task were administered: the Hungarian and the Serbian. The Serbian version was the same as in Experiment 1. The Hungarian was constructed for the purpose of this experiment and matched the Serbian in all relevant aspects (see below).

Stimuli: Two language versions of the reading span task were matched for the sentence length, syntactic and vocabulary complexity, frequency and the length of target-word. Average sentence length was 12.36 words in both versions of the task. Hungarian target-word frequencies were extracted from the Hungarian National Corpus (Magyar Nemeti Szövegtár, 2003), their mean was 205.43 occurrences per million, and it matched mean Serbian target- word frequency (t(82) = 1.026, p > 0.05). Mean number of phonemes in target-words was 4.45 and 4.69 for the Hungarian and Serbian version of the task, respectively, with the two versions not differing in this respect either (t(82) = 0.962, p > 0.05).

Design: The main analysis of Experiment 2 included L2 working memory span as a dependent variable, with age of L2 acquisition as a between-group categorical predictor and L1 working memory span as a continuous covariate predictor. Within-group comparison of L1 and L2 spans of the EA group was performed for further examination of proficiency effect. Working memory spans were calculated in the same fashion as in Experiment 1.

Procedure: Administration of the task was individual. Participants were administered two parallel language variants of the reading span task (Hungarian and Serbian) in one session. The order of task administration was balanced and had no effect on the results. Technical aspects of the presentation of the stimuli were identical to those in Experiment 1.

Results

Descriptive statistics of the subjects tested in Experiment 2 (the EA group), together with the highly proficient subjects from Experiment 1 to whom they were compared to are displayed in Table 2. Due to lower variability in language proficiency of the EA subjects, their L1 and L2 spans were even more highly correlated (r(29) = 0.84, p < 0.01) than those of the groups tested in Experiment 1.

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Table 2: Means and standard deviations of L1 and L2 spans for the groups of early and later acquired L2 subjects.

Group

Span

M

SD

Early acquired

L1

.627

.111

L2

.590

.111

Later acquired

L1

.639

.112

L2

.543

.102

Linear model (ANCOVA) was performed in order to examine the effect of the group membership on L2 span. Significant main effect of group was registered (F(1, 28) = 5.064, p < 0.05), even after controlling for the covariate L1 span effect (F(1, 28) = 41.405, p < 0.01). Conversely, group effect on L1 span was not significant (F(1, 29) < 1). While compared groups equaled in their L1 performance, the EA group performed significantly better in L2. Furthermore, subjects from the EA group had larger spans in L1 than in L2 (t(14) = 2.342, p < 0.05).

Discussion As in Experiment 1, high correlation between working memory spans in L1 and L2 was found. This correlation was even higher than the correlation registered in HP group of the Experiment 1. Unlike in Experiment 1, subjects from both groups considered in Experiment 2 analyses were proficient speakers of both L1 and L2. They matched in self-assessment of L2 proficiency, with the critical difference between the groups being the age of L2 acquisition. Subjects from the EA group started L2 acquisition at the age of four, while those of the LA group did so at the age of nine. This difference is both statistically significant and substantial. Furthermore, the EA group subjects acquired L2 within the critical period that is often claimed to be the maturational constraint for fully successful language acquisition (cf. Johnson & Newport, 1989; Newport, 1990), whereas the age of first exposure to L2 for the LA group goes well beyond the critical age of seven, with their L2 acquisition continuing during puberty period. Experiment 2 showed that the two groups had similar working memory spans in their L1. The EA group, however, performed significantly better in the L2 task than the LA group. Accordingly, the experiment showed that the verbal working memory performance is affected by the age of language acquisition. Results of Experiment 2 also showed that the L1 span was larger than the L2 span even in subjects who acquired L2 early in their lives and have very good command of it. This finding gives an additional support to the results of Experiment 1. More specifically, it shows that language proficiency effect on verbal working memory is not only characteristic of lower level L2 mastering, but that it is present even in very highly skilled speakers.

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GENERAL DISCUSSION

This study examined factors that influence bilingual verbal working memory performance. The nature of previously reported proficiency effect was under particular scrutiny in our experiments, while the age of language acquisition effect was examined for the first time. The answer to the first principal question of the study – is verbal working memory performance affected by language proficiency? – is clearly affirmative. Several findings support this claim. Most importantly, critical comparison of two experimental groups in Experiment 1 showed that proficient L2 speakers had larger L2 working memory spans than the group characterized by lower L2 proficiency, even after the influence of L1 performance was statistically controlled for. At the same time, two groups did not show significant differences in their L1 performance. Moreover, subjects’ scores on L2 knowledge test were correlated with their L2 spans, and not with their L1 spans. Registered proficiency effect confirmed previous findings of Service et al. (2002) and Van den Noort et al. (2006), in spite of notable methodological differences in three studies. In particular, Service et al.’s experimental task was considerably different from ours: their subjects were shown pictures while the sentences were presented auditively. The task was to verify the correspondence between the two, while at the same time memorizing the last words of the presented sentences. Languages used were Finnish and English, and there were several procedural particularities in this study. In the Van den Noort’s study standard reading span task was administered in three Germanic languages (Dutch, German and Norwegian), while the same task and different scoring procedure was applied in our study. The languages we used (Serbian, Hungarian and English) origin from different and quite distant language groups. Thus, the concurrence of the results from the three studies proves that the proficiency effect is robust enough to be registered by the application of different experimental procedures and in very different languages. Additional support for this finding comes from the neurological study of Chee et al. (2004) where different brain activation at different L2 proficiency levels in working memory (n-back) task was reported. On the basis of the presented results, we concur with the view of Service and colleagues, and argue that language proficiency affects verbal working memory performance. It is our view that this happens in the following way: higher language proficiency in a given language leads to greater automatization of its processing, which leads to smaller processing costs in comprehension of the verbal material. This in turn causes that larger portion of available resources can be employed in the retainment of the information in working memory, which can ultimately be observed in superior working memory spans in proficient language processing. Furthermore, results of the study allow for a more precise specification of registered proficiency effect. In Experiment 1, the effect was shown at lower levels of language proficiency (L1 span > L2 span). But more importantly, the

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same result was obtained in highly proficient L2 speakers, too, for even highly proficient L2 subjects performed better when they were administered the task in L1 (in which they were more proficient), than in L2 (which they mastered fairly well, but not as good as L1). Finally, larger L1 span was found even in the group of early acquired L2 subjects (Experiment 2). Clearly, these results conflict with the threshold hypothesis that predicts the effect is to be observed at lower levels of language proficiency only. Presence of the effect at all examined proficiency levels contrasts with the findings reported in the study of Service et al. (2002), and concurs with the results of the Van den Noort’s et al. (2006). We suspect that the divergent findings of Service et al. are likely to have emerged due to application of considerably different procedure than the one used in other two studies. Our results suggest that even highly proficient L2 speakers do not reach the level of automatization of L2 processing that is characteristic of their L1 processing. Consequently, when comprehending L2 material they need to engage more of available resources than in L1 processing, and this in turn results in less information retained in their working memory. However, there is one objection that can be made with respect to previous discussion. It can correctly be noted that superior L1 working memory performance of the Experiment 1 subjects may not necessarily have been caused by their superior L1 proficiency, since there also was a substantial difference in the age at which these subjects had acquired two languages. Having in mind the critical period hypothesis of language acquisition (cf. Johnson & Newport, 1989; Newport, 1990), one could wonder whether the L1 working memory superiority was (at least partly) caused by this other difference. The outcome of Experiment 2, however, does not support this skepticism, as similar superiority of L1 performance was found in subjects that had started with L2 acquisition very early (at the age of four), well before L1 acquisition was anywhere close to completion, and certainly well before the end of the critical period. Relevance of the age of language acquisition on verbal working memory performance was examined in Experiment 2 where two highly proficient L2 groups were tested. Critical comparison showed that the group that acquired L2 at the early age had larger L2 working memory span than the group that started with the L2 acquisition later (the groups equaling in L1 performance). This showed that, in addition to language proficiency, age of language acquisition presents another domain specific variable that affects bilingual verbal working memory performance. Given that we have shown that proficiency affects working memory performance, potential objection regarding previous conclusion concerns the question of whether the subjects of the two highly proficient groups were exactly equal in their L2 competence, i.e. whether L2 proficiency of the later-acquired group was as high as that of the early-acquired group. In response to this, we firstly note that an effort was made to select the best later-acquired L2 speakers available. Their L2 proficiency was judged as high both by experts and by the objective L2 test scores. These L2 (English) test scores could not have

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been compared with objective L2 (Serbian) test scores of the early-acquired group, since matching standardized test of Serbian as the second language is not available. However, we asked our subjects to assess their L2 proficiency, and these self-assessments did not show between-group difference. Also, subjects from the two groups were similar in declaring preference of the use of L1. Based on all this, we conclude that there was no evidence indicating between-group difference in L2 proficiency, and suggest that the observed results were likely to be the consequence of the differences in the age of L2 acquisition. This first establishment of the age of language acquisition effect is to be reconfirmed in subsequent experimentation. Besides two principal outcomes of the study, two other results are also worth noting. Firstly, high positive correlation of performance in reading span tasks in different languages is found in both experiments. These correlations are comparable in size to the ones reported in Osaka & Osaka (1992) and Van den Noort et al. (2006). Differences among three languages used in our study additionally strengthen this finding. Viewed in the light of domain generality discussion, this result supports the notion of working memory as a cognitive capacity that is largely domain general, or at least language independent. However, registered interlingual correlation was far from perfect, indicating some specific language factors (e.g. language proficiency and age of language acquisition) also contribute to the working memory performance. Secondly, an effect of L2 proficiency or age of L2 acquisition on L1 working memory performance was not shown in either of the experiments. Learning of L2, even in an early period, does not seem to have backward beneficial effect on general working memory functioning. As discussed, this comes as no surprise, since current notions of working memory do not predict such an effect. In conclusion, results of the study support the notion of a general pool of resources that are engaged in every working memory processing. This general ability, by large, determines working memory performance in verbal domain irrespectively of the language employed. However, the research unambiguously showed that some specific characteristics of language also have effect of verbal working memory performance. These are, namely, language proficiency and age of language acquisition. Age of acquisition effect was shown for the first time, and language proficiency was proved to affect working memory performance even in very high levels of language mastering.

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PSIHOLOGIJA, 2010, Vol. 43 (3), © 2010 by the Serbian Psychological Association

UDC 159.955.072 ; 159.922.072 DOI: 10.2298/PSI1003233B

The Effects of Matching a Persuasive Message to a Recipient’s Self-Concept on Attitude Change 1

Marija Branković and Iris Žeželj

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

The paper addresses the question of whether matching a persuasive message to a recipient’s self-concept can enhance message processing. A large body of experiments within the Elaboration likelihood model proved that framing a message so as to be perceived as self- relevant led to more careful argument scrutiny. In this research, we matched the messages with previously assessed need for cognition – tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive tasks. Two possible sources of motivation to process a persuasive message were hereby confronted: dispositional (cognitive style) and situational (matching). Results showed a significant attitude change, but the main hypothesis was not confirmed: matched messages did not produce more argument processing activity than the mismatched. Manipulations did not have any significant effects on message processing of the high need for cognition participants. Contrary to expectations, participants low in their need for cognition elaborated the message more carefully when it was mismatched, that is when the message addressed them as persons inclined to careful thinking. Results can be explained within the framework of self-affirmation theory, which argues that providing people with an opportunity to affirm their sense of self- worth makes them more open to persuasion attempts, as well as more objective. Results are discussed from a wider theoretical and empirical perspective of motivation.

Keywords: matching effect, need for cognition, argument quality, Elaboration likelihood model, attitude change

When we attempt to persuade somebody to vote for a certain candidate or to buy a certain product the first obstacle we have to overcome is to get the person’s attention. How can we make people listen to and think about the arguments we have? People approach new information differently – while some are thoughtful, others try to avoid too much thinking. The question we can ask is how these individual differences may be used to enhance persuasion and,

Corresponding author: izezelj@f.bg.ac.rs

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furthermore, if and under which circumstances these chronic tendencies can be reversed. A large body of research has dealt with the issue of motivation in persuasion. One possible way of motivating recipients to process a persuasive

message is through tying the messages to the self. People tend to be more sensitive to information that is relevant to themselves and appealing to their self- perceptions, following much the same principle as turning when someone calls your name (Petty, Cacioppo, & Goldman, 1981; Petty, Wheeler, & Bizer, 2000).

If we formulate a persuasive message in such a manner as to appeal to the kind

of person the recipient is, this may motivate the recipient to process the message more thoroughly.

Following this line of thought, in our study we attempted to frame the persuasive messages so as to appeal to individuals differing in their need for cognition – the tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities (Cacciopo & Petty, 1982). We wanted to investigate whether such a match to an important aspect of self-concept would elicit more cognitive engagement of the

participants, a result likely to expect on basis of the considerable research done in the field of persuasion and attitude change. Our study draws on research done within what is currently the most accepted theoretical framework for studying attitude change – the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion (ELM, Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Petty & Wegener, 1999). According to the ELM, people are motivated to hold accurate attitudes but, due to the limitations of their cognitive system, are unable to scrutinize every piece of information they confront. Sometimes people act as cognitive misers, while at other times it is more adaptive for them to engage all resources in careful information processing. This model postulates that there are two possible routes to processing persuasive information: central and peripheral. The key difference between the two routes is the extent of the cognitive effort put into argument scrutiny. With central processing, attitude change occurs as

a result of investing cognitive effort into carefully thinking about the message

and its contents. Persuasive argumentation is being thoroughly scrutinized: the relevant information is assessed on the basis of previous knowledge. Peripheral processing is based on a variety of processes, all of which require less cognitive effort. Some of these processes differ in a quantitative way from central-route processes (less careful argument scrutiny), while some are also qualitatively different – they include no argument scrutiny at all (e.g. heuristic reasoning or classical conditioning). Attitudes formed via the central route are more stable, accessible, resistant to counter argumentation, and more predictive of behaviour than those formed via the peripheral route (Petty & Wegener, 1999). Which of the two routes is chosen depends on two key factors: the recipient’s motivation and ability to process, both of which can be a result of individual differences (dispositional factors) or the context of persuasion (situational factors). For example, recipients differ in terms of their intellectual

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abilities or previous knowledge about a topic, while situational factors such as repetition or distraction can influence a recipient’s ability to process a message regardless of these individual differences. Similarly, people differ in their cognitive style – while some are thoughtful, others are not, but some situational incentives (e.g. talking about a subject in some way important for the recipient) can influence the motivation of a recipient. While ELM deals mainly with motivation to accept or defy attitude change attempts, another important theory raises the question of why people actually have attitudes (Katz, 1960; Watt, Maio, Haddock, & Johnson, 2008). This functional approach identifies the needs and motives that people satisfy by holding, expressing, or changing their attitudes. A valuable implication of this approach for the study and practice of persuasion is that when we want to change somebody’s attitude, we should discover and appeal to the motivational basis of the attitude. The positive effect of matching a persuasive message to the functional basis of attitudes is known as the functional matching effect (Julka & Marsh, 2000; Lavine & Snyder, 1996; Petty & Wegener, 1998; Petty, Wheeler, & Bizer, 2000), and has been supported by robust empirical evidence. When tailoring the message to respond to the motivational basis of an attitude, a researcher can choose one of three widely used strategies. Some researchers postulate that diverse objects serve the same function for different individuals – e.g. for most people coffee has an instrumental value (i.e. taste), while perfume is rather a means of expressing social identity. Sharon Shavitt (1990) presented her participants with two different kinds of advertisements for coffee and perfume: ones that appealed to the instrumental value of the products and ones that invoked a picture of social identity of people who use them. The results showed a clear matching effect: coffee ads with an instrumental appeal were more effective, as well as perfume ads with a social identity appeal. Another line of research is an individual difference paradigm, based on the assumption that for an individual most of the attitudes he/she holds serve the same function (DeBono, 1987; Lavine & Snyder, 1996). For example, while attitudes of self-monitors typically serve a social adaptive function, attitudes of low self-monitoring individuals serve a value expressive function. DeBono (1987) presented high and low self-monitors with messages that contained the same arguments, but were framed to appeal either to social adaptation (it is claimed that the message expresses the attitude of the majority of students) or value expression (it is claimed that the issue in question bears on important values). Messages that matched the presumed functional basis of participants’ attitudes produced more attitude change. The third line of research does not attempt to match the message to the recipient but rather to match the recipient to the message. Julka and Marsh (2000) used situational manipulations to induce a need to express values or to understand coming information in their participants. Commercial ads that were

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created to appeal to these induced needs (i.e. matched messages) created more attitude change than those that did not (mismatched messages). How does the matching effect actually work? There are two possible explanations:

a) matching enhances persuasion by means of biased processing (top-down hypothesis)

b) matching enhances argument scrutiny, thus resulting in more attitude change

only when the arguments are strong (bottom-up hypothesis) The first-generation research showed that matching generally results in more persuasion, which can be explained by biased information processing under the influence of existing cognitive structures (Lavine & Snyder, 1996). Research done within the framework of ELM showed, however, that matching messages to functional bases of attitudes can prompt people to give more careful thought to the message, or, using ELM terminology, to process it centrally. This can occur when the initial elaboration likelihood is not constricted to be either very high or very low (Petty & Wegener, 1998). The ELM authors also proposed that the functional matching paradigm can be extended to include other types of matching, e.g. matching messages to cognitive/affective bases of an attitude, to an aspect of participant’s self-schema or social identity. All these types of matching share a common ground in that they attempt to make a bond between the message and the self, or to put it differently, to speak to just the kind of person the recipient considers him/herself to be. In this way, the message appears self-relevant, captures the attention and engages cognitive effort on the part of the recipient. Several studies which investigated the effects of self-schema matching have been conducted within the ELM framework. In an early study by Cacioppo, Petty and Sidera (1982) participants were divided into groups based on whether they considered themselves to be religious or legalistic persons. They were then presented with arguments in favour of capital punishment and abortion which were either religious (e.g. taking somebody’s life is against the Ten Commandments), legalistic (e.g. the constitution guarantees everybody the right to live), or neutral. Results showed a clear matching effect – religious participants rated the message containing religious arguments as more persuasive, while the opposite was true of legalistic participants. While these results are consistent with the top-down hypothesis, experiments with argument quality manipulation seem to support the bottom-up hypothesis. In one study, Evans and Petty (2003) identified among their participants those guided by their ideals and wishes and those guided by their responsibilities. The two groups were then presented with ads for a fictitious breakfast product that appealed either to ideals (Fast-Break: Your ideal breakfast solution!) or to duties (Fast-Break: The responsible breakfast!). Matched messages induced central- route elaboration, i.e. a greater effect of argument quality on attitude change

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and thought positivity. The authors conclude that matching increased elaboration either by increasing motivation to elaborate (making messages appear self- relevant), ability to elaborate (making it easier to attend to and remember the message), or both. Drawing on the research done within ELM (as in Wheeler, Petty, & Bizer, 2005), we wanted to further examine the effects of matching a persuasive message to an aspect of the recipient’s self-concept on attitude change. As already mentioned, we used need for cognition as the matching variable, a motivational construct that refers to the tendency of an individual to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive tasks (Cacciopo & Petty, 1982; Cacciopo, Petty, Feinstein, & Jervis, 1996; Cacciopo, Petty, Kao, & Rodriguez, 1986; Petty, Brinol, Loersch, & McCaslin, 2009; Trogrlić &Vasić, 2009). We constructed two different versions of the persuasive message to appeal either to people who like thinking thoroughly or people not inclined to think thoroughly. Using need for cognition in a matching paradigm could be especially informative because it allows confronting two basic sources of motivation: dispositional (cognitive style) and situational (matching). If need for cognition (i.e. cognitive style) is the strongest source of motivation, it can be expected that recipients who are thoughtful processors consistently engage in more processing activity, as opposed to those who are typically not thoughtful processors. If situational manipulation (i.e. matching) overrides dispositional differences, it can be expected that all recipients process the message more carefully when it matches their self-concept, regardless of whether they typically are careful processors. Our main hypothesis was that matching messages to this aspect of self- concept would result in capturing the attention of the recipients and more careful argument scrutiny. We hypothesised that this effect would be observed with participants both high and low in their need for cognition. Besides testing the functional matching effect (registered mostly in ELM framework and with an English speaking audience) within a different cultural context, this study included several procedural novelties to test if the effect can be further generalized. Within the ELM paradigm, it is common to study “non attitudes” (newly formed attitudes to uninvolving, often fictive commercial products) or what Zanna (1993) referred to as “parochial college issues” (attitudes towards different students’ policies). We opted for a more controversial and emotionally involving issue – attitudes towards people with serious psychiatric diagnosis. We also attempted to solve a more difficult task of changing already existent and relatively unfavourable attitudes to more favourable positions using counter-attitudinal messages in contrast to the commonly used pro-attitudinal messages. With this choice we adhere to a stricter definition of persuasion, which defines it as an attempt to change somebody’s already formed attitudes on an important subject (Žeželj, 2005; 2006), and make an effort to encompass a wider range of subjects.

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Prior to the manipulation, we asked the participants to rate the importance of the subject, which enabled us to determine initial elaboration likelihood. According to the ELM, initial elaboration likelihood determines what outcomes are to be predicted, but is commonly deduced from results, which we felt was methodologically unacceptable. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we introduced a somewhat different operationalisation of the key factors – argument quality and matching, which shall be discussed in greater detail in the methods section.

Method

The study had a 2 (need for cognition: high vs. low) x 2 (argument quality: high vs. low) x 2 (message type: matched vs. mismatched) between-subject design.

Participants and procedure: One hundred seventy-two high school students (average age 17.5) from Belgrade, Serbia participated in the study. Out of the initial sample of 218, only 178 of the high school students returned to take part in the fourth phase of the study. Six participants were excluded from the final analysis during randomization of experimental groups. The study was conducted through four successive stages:

In the first phase students’ need for cognition and their initial attitudes towards the rights of persons with serious psychiatric diagnoses were assessed. The students also indicated how important the subject was, for them personally and for society as a whole. In the second phase, potential arguments were created and their quality was assessed by a group of psychology students. A strong and a weak version of the message were created. In the third phase, participants were identified as either high or low in need for cognition in the pre-test and then randomly assigned to experimental conditions. In the fourth phase, the main experiment was conducted, including the following

steps:

1. The participants were given cards with the message frame and were told that they would first get feedback regarding the previous session.

2. Then, the participants were presented with written persuasive messages.

3. Both matching cards and messages were removed and the participants were given

questionnaires that first assessed their attitudes and then took a number of other dependent measures. Both the pre-test and the main experiment were conducted during lectures at school and took between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. Participants were thanked and debriefed in cooperation with school psychologists.

Stimuli: The persuasive messages consisted of between 250 and 300 words and presented the arguments in form of a transcript of a fictive TV interview with a representative of the Serbian National mental health committee (Appendix 1). We assumed a transcript would be perceived as more persuasive than retelling somebody’s statements. We chose a TV programme offering mostly service information about the Serbian capital, and, among other things, comments on important social issues, such as mental health. Since this programme is not popular among teenagers, we minimized likelihood that participants might realize that the interview was fictive.

The pre-tested arguments were presented through the questions of the programme host and answers of the fictive expert. The participants (all except one) did not express doubt about

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the authenticity of the interview, either by spontaneous comments or in their answers to the questionnaire.

Independent variables: Need for cognition (NFC) was measured using an adapted version of the Short Need for Cognition Scale (Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984). The scale consists of 18 items and participants are instructed to indicate on a 5-point Likert-type scale the degree to which each item characterizes them. Reponses are summed (inverse items being recoded) with scores ranging from 18 to 90, higher scores indicating a higher need for cognition. The Serbian version of the scale in our translation showed good psychometric properties (Cronbach’s α = .82). Principal component analysis and a scree test yielded one dominant factor, accounting for 28% of total variance. The participants were identified as either high or low in need for cognition based on a median-split. The two groups differed significantly in their need for cognition – the low NFC group had M n = 52.8, SD = 7.2, while the high NFC group had M v = 69.1, SD = 5.9 (F (1, 170) = 262.2, p = .00).

Argument quality was determined using a procedure somewhat different from the standard

procedure used in ELM research. ELM researchers define argument quality empirically (Petty

& Cacioppo, 1986): potential arguments should be pre-tested and those eliciting predominantly

favourable thoughts should be considered strong, while those with a predominantly unfavourable response profile should be considered weak. In practice, strong arguments are usually constructed so as to provide persuasive evidence in form of relevant statistical data or results of empirical studies (Petty, Cacioppo, & Goldman, 1981). Weak arguments, however, rely on quotations, examples, or personal opinions, without mention of statistical data. Thus, these arguments differ both in their form and in their actual relevance for the standpoint argued.

Different authors have criticised this empirical definition, demanding a stricter logical

analysis and evaluation of argument quality (Van Enschot-van Dijk, Hustinx, & Hoeken, 2003). In one of the first such attempts, Areni and Lutz showed that argument quality is not

a one-dimensional concept, but that it is possible to distinguish between argument strength

and argument valence (Areni & Lutz, 1988). Whereas differences in argument valence (desirability of the consequences) are relatively easy to detect, detecting differences in argument strength (probability of consequences) demands considerable cognitive effort on the part of the recipients. When arguments are constructed so as to differ in argument strength only, argument quality effect can be less pronounced compared with arguments differing both

in their form and relevance (Van Enschot-van Dijk, Hustinx, & Hoeken, 2003).

Following this criticism, we made an effort to make both strong and weak arguments appear equally compelling at first sight, while their logical consistency only becomes apparent upon thoughtful scrutiny (as suggested in Žeželj, 2006). Thus, both potentially strong and weak arguments provided statistical data, results of empirical studies and referred to eminent experts and institutions in the field of mental health. However, all these references were relevant only in the case of strong arguments. For example, a strong argument would state that only 4% of persons with serious psychiatric diagnosis had ever committed a crime (which

is not different from the normal population), while a weak argument would state that only

4% of these persons possessed firearms. Both arguments rely on statistical data, but in the case of the weak argument this data can be easily refuted (a. one can commit a crime without possessing firearms and b. being diagnosed with psychiatric illness can be a serious obstacle for obtaining a firearm licence). We chose not to use completely fictive arguments, but drew on actual data from publications and articles on mental health. We feared that, despite the debriefing, knowledge that we used fictive arguments favouring rights of people with psychiatric diagnoses could further polarize respondents’ negative attitudes.

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Forty four psychology students rated preliminary arguments on a 7-point rating scale. The students were asked to carefully read each statement and rate the degree to which it can serve as a strong argument favouring rights of people with serious psychiatric diagnosis, regardless of what attitudes they personally held. In the instruction, a strong argument was defined as a logically sound argument that is difficult to refute. Arguments for the final version of the message were chosen based on their average rating and on their content – in cases where several arguments had similar ratings those that added new information were chosen. Strong and weak argument groups differed significantly in average ratings in pre-test:

Mw = 3.42, Ms = 5.29 (F (1, 8) = 83.29, p = .00).

Matching manipulation was conducted through message frames – an introduction and a summary that were added to each message – while the body of the messages contained strong or weak arguments, in order to keep these factors orthogonal. The frames were introduced to the participants as feedback regarding their need for cognition, measured in the first phase. Two versions of feedback were constructed (Appendix 2). One version addressed participants as persons who like thinking and who wish to look at all sides of a problem when making

a judgment. The other one addressed them as persons who do not like thinking about and

analyzing all the details, but prefer to rely on their intuition. In addition to this “introduction” to the message, a summary line was also presented following the arguments, once again addressing participants as people who like or do not like thinking. This served to reinforce the manipulation.

After dividing participants into two groups based on whether they were high or low in need for cognition, each participant from the two groups was randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions, formed by crossing argument quality (strong vs. weak) and message frame (matched vs. mismatched). Thus, in half of the cases the message frames matched actual need of cognition of the participants (addressing the thoughtful ones as individuals fond of thinking and the non-thoughtful ones as those who do not like thinking) and, conversely, mismatched the actual level of need for cognition in the other half (telling the thoughtful ones they do not like thinking and the non-thoughtful ones that they do). This feedback was presented on separate cards given to each participant before the persuasive message in order to assure that they would attend to it and recognize if it truly matches their self-perceptions regarding cognitive style. A number of students recognized that the feedback regarding the need for cognition did not apply to them and commented on that, which showed that our matching manipulation was successful.

Dependent measures: Attitude measures: The pre– and post-test attitudes were assessed by ten-item agreement scales, including items as “Persons with serious psychiatric diagnoses often pose a threat to their environment.” or “It would be perfectly all right if a sibling of mine wanted to marry a person with a serious psychiatric diagnosis.”. The score on the scale did not correlate significantly with the score on the Short Need for Cognition scale (r = .15,

p = .05). In the pre-test the ten items assessing attitude towards people with psychiatric diagnoses were embedded among filler items ostensibly assessing attitudes towards homosexuals and the role of church in society. In the retest the participants responded only to a ten item scale (α = .76). Retest measures were taken immediately after the persuasive message. Item analysis showed that one of the items was negatively correlated with the scale, so

it was excluded from the final analysis. Responses were summed into a score ranging from 9

to 45 (inverse items being recoded), the higher score indicating a more favourable attitude. An attitude change measure was constructed simply by subtracting the pre-test from the post-test attitude measure.

RESULTS

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Randomization of experimental groups The respondents were randomized into one of eight experimental conditions. After eliminating outliers 2 , the conditions did not differ significantly in the initial attitudes, as shown by ANOVA (F (7, 164) = 1.73, p = .10), or in the assessment of the importance of the subject (F (7, 164) = 1.63, p = .13). The mean rating of importance was 3.04 (SD = .79) on a 5-point scale, which indicates that the subject was rated as moderately important. We can therefore conclude that initial elaboration likelihood was not constricted to be either very high or low (this is a prerequisite for hypothesised effects to be observed, according to the ELM). To test the experimental hypothesis, the data was subjected to a three-way between-subject analysis of variance.

The effect of argument quality on attitude change The results show that experimental manipulation led to significant attitude change to a more favourable position (F (1, 164) = 155.72, p = .00) – with an average pre-test attitude of 20.56 and a post-test attitude of 24.48 (on a scale ranging from 9 to 45). We hypothesized that messages containing strong arguments would induce more attitude change than those containing weak arguments. Repeated measures analysis of variance, however, did not reveal a significant effect of argument quality (F (1, 164) = .06, p = .80).

Table 1: Mean attitude change (with SD) in the eight experimental conditions

Group

matched message

mismatched message

strong

weak

strong

weak

 

arguments

arguments

arguments

arguments

low NFC

1.62 (3.64)

4.62 (4.98)

5.47 (3.59)

4.04 (3.83)

high NFC

5.69 (5.83)

3.50 (5.01)

4.75 (3.76)

4.68 (4.86)

The effects of self-concept matching on attitude change ANOVA showed no significant interaction between argument quality and message type (matched vs. mismatched) (F (1, 164) = 0.69, p = .41). Thus, the

2 Groups in the final sample differed both in size and their initial attitudes, so that an additional balancing was needed. From the four groups with extreme scores, 4 participants with the highest (above 95 percentile)/lowest (under 5 percentile) scores were excluded. In the largest group, we excluded additional two participants with scores between 90 and 95 percentile, to even out group sizes.

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matching hypothesis was not confirmed when looking at the sample as a whole. However, there was a significant three-way interaction between argument quality, matching, and need for cognition (F (1, 164) = 5.65, p = .02). To further investigate the interaction, we conducted separate two-way analysis in the high and low NFC groups (Figure 1). Within the high NFC group there was no significant interaction between argument quality and matching, with insignificant differences in the expected direction. The participants were somewhat (but not significantly) more responsive to argument quality when shown a matched rather than mismatched message.

quality when shown a matched rather than mismatched message. Figure 1: Matching effects in groups high

Figure 1: Matching effects in groups high and low in need for cognition

Within the low NFC group there was a marginally significant main effect of message type (matched vs. mismatched) (F (1, 82) = 3.49, p = .065) and a significant interaction of message type and argument quality (F (1, 82) = 6.36, p = .014). The low NFC group behaved in a way opposite to expectations: the matched message led to less attitude change (M = 3.02) than the mismatched (M = 4.70). When the message was matched to participants’ self-concept they became less responsive to argument quality – strong arguments led to an average attitude change of 1.62 units when the message was matched, and to an average of 5.47 points of attitude change when the message was mismatched.

DISCUSSION

We hypothesised that matching a persuasive message to an aspect of a recipients’ self-concept would result in more careful argument scrutiny and heightened sensitivity to argument quality. This hypothesis was not confirmed.

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The participants were on average not prompted to central route elaboration by messages that were formed to match their cognitive style. However, we observed a three-way interaction with need for cognition. High need for cognition individuals were in general not influenced by our matching manipulation – they were somewhat (but not significantly) more responsive to argument quality when shown a matched rather than a mismatched message. This finding is consistent with studies demonstrating that the functional matching effect can be limited with persons high in need for cognition. Namely, since these persons tend to spontaneously engage in effortful cognitive scrutiny, little space is left for them to be prompted to expend more effort because of a ceiling effect (Evans & Petty, 2003; Petty & Wegener, 1998). On the other hand, the low NFC individuals behaved in a way quite opposite to the one expected: they engaged in central route processing when the message was mismatched – when the persuasive message addressed them as persons fond of thorough thinking. Additionally, they tended to show more attitude change when presented with the mismatched message, regardless of whether the arguments were strong or weak. These results could obviously not be explained within the matching framework, so they called for a switch in mindset – instead of minute functional analysis, we turned to general issues of motivation. In our opinion, the effect of the “thoughtful person” framing can be understood in at least two ways: as an effect of attributing the named characteristic to the self (participants are said that they are thoughtful, so they act accordingly) or as an effect of positive feedback or praise (positive information elicits more cognitive activity). There are several lines of research investigating conditions under which persons behave (and perceive themselves) in accordance with explicitly or implicitly stated expectations of others. One of these phenomena is known as the effect of attributional labelling, where attributing a trait or characteristic to participants elicits behaviours consistent with the label (Henderlong & Lepper, 2002; Jensen & Moore, 1977; Toner, Moore, & Emmons, 1980). Equivalent effects were also observed in the field of persuasion – in one study, participants primed with the trait of extraversion or stereotypes towards Afro-Americans scrutinized the persuasive messages that matched the primes more thoroughly than the mismatched (Wheeler, DeMarree, & Petty, 2008). The authors suggested an explanation in terms of an active self concept (inspired by the concept of dynamic self, see Markus & Wurf, 1987): the primed contents can be temporarily included in the person’s active, flexible part of the self-concept and thus affect behaviour. Consequently, while the framing matched to the “non-thoughtful” identity of the participants’ perhaps even additionally discouraged message processing, informing participants that they are inclined to thoughtful thinking could have led to behaviour consistent with this information (engaging in more careful scrutiny).

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There is, however, a problem with this explanation – the low NFC participants adopted the mismatched message to a greater extent, regardless of the quality of the arguments presented. So, even if attribution could partly account for the observed effects, it seems that it cannot provide a complete explanation. Another hypothesis is that the participants perceived the “thoughtful person” feedback as a kind of positive information or praise. The most important argument in support of this is the experimental setting – the fact that the research was conducted at school, where thoughtfulness is considered a highly desirable trait. This feedback could have been perceived by the participants as something resembling a teacher’s praise (one participant tried to photograph the card with the feedback, as if to document it). If our participants perceived the mismatched feedback as positive, it could have enhanced their intrinsic motivation, an effect demonstrated by a great deal of empirical research (see Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 1999 for a review). One of the proposed mediating mechanisms of this effect is enhancing perceptions of self-competence, as explained in the framework of Steele’s theory of self- affirmation (Steele, 1988). Receiving positive feedback on a task reinforces the recipient’s sense of self-worth and acts as a sort of “inoculation” to defensive responses to persuasion. Research has shown that, when participants are given a chance to affirm themselves in a certain way, they become more open to objective assessment of counter attitudinal messages and more inclined to change their attitudes when shown valid arguments (Cohen, Aronson, & Steele, 2000). However, affirmation can also make the recipient more inclined to accept any attempt at persuasion, regardless of whether the arguments are strong or weak (Correll, Spencer, & Zanna, 2004). It should be pointed out that both mechanisms could be at work at the same time, because our low NFC participants not only grew more responsive to argument quality, but also tended to change their attitudes more in response to both strong and weak mismatched messages (the main effect of matching). Since our study was not designed to test this hypothesis, further research is needed to investigate these effects more directly, in particular the issue of what makes a feedback positive. For instance, if we examined members of a sports club, would a “thoughtful person” feedback elicit more careful scrutiny of messages or perhaps a feedback addressing them as successful athletes? Another perspective from which to observe the results is whether manipulating situational factors (i.e. matching message to self-concept) would override dispositional differences (cognitive style). Can we make participants behave in a way that is atypical of them – can we prompt those who are not fond of thinking to be thoughtful and vice versa? We are led to conclude that, although we attempted to neutralize the differences in cognitive style, they still appeared. Within participant groups differing in need for cognition, different patterns of interaction were observed. There appears to be no significant possibility (or

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danger) to prevent persons who like thinking thoroughly from doing so. On the other hand, there appears to be a possibility of motivating typically non- thoughtful people to engage in extensive information processing activity. Possibly the most surprising result of the study is the absence of the argument quality effect – the fact that strong arguments did not produce more attitude change than weak ones. This finding contradicts one of the most empirically documented effects in persuasion. Our findings suggest that the respondents did not expend enough cognitive effort to recognize the subtle differences in argument quality – mere mentioning of authorities and statistical data seems to have had effect, no matter how relevant the information really was. On the other hand, there is a possibility that any argument favouring rights of persons with serious psychiatric diagnosis would be new, perhaps even surprising to the participants, considering the sensationalistic and negative portrayal of mental health issues in the media. Some studies show that presenting new arguments on a topic can have an initial positive effect, even if the arguments are weak (Cacioppo & Petty, 1980). Another issue of importance is that it was psychology students who assessed the arguments used. Perhaps our participants thought that weak arguments were strong enough, since they did not have the opportunity to consider the more relevant ones. An interesting question for future researchers would be to compare “expert” ratings of argument quality with the ratings given by the participants in the experiments. The crucial methodological novelty introduced in our study is the operationalisation of argument quality, which we previously discussed in the method section. Since our results show that different procedures give different effects, the argument quality paradigm in assessing the extent of message processing is hereby once again called into question. Criticism of this kind has apparently been recognized even by the ELM authors (See, Petty & Evans, 2009). They have accepted the fact that the crucial limitation of the classical paradigm is the fact that strong and weak arguments differ in their form – for example, strong arguments present more empirical data so that some forms of peripheral processing can suffice to make a distinction between them. The authors are now developing purer indicators of elaboration depth. Another important reason for obtaining these results might be our choice of subject in the study. As already mentioned, we chose a topic of high social and moderate personal relevance, which is presumably both more personally involving and emotionally charged than the topics usually chosen in ELM research (e.g. campus life, tuition increase, or fictive commercial products). Participants were at least minimally familiar with the subject, mostly or overwhelmingly in a negative sense (e.g. they have presumably heard of cases of mass murders committed by psychiatric patients). Research focusing on personally relevant attitudes indicates that attitude change and resistance to change include both cognitive and affective elaboration. For instance, Zuvernik

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and Devine found that the argument quality effect was dominantly mediated by affective and not cognitive responses (e.g. weak arguments provoked more irritation and annoyance, but these negative affective reactions were attenuated when arguments were strong) (Zuvernik & Devine, 1996). In the authors’ opinion, these results call for a revision of the concept of argument quality and its broadening beyond the definition in terms of the type of thoughts elicited. The precise mechanism mediating the effect of affective responses as well as the interactions between cognitive and affective factors needs further clarification. In this particular case, a good starting point would be investigating the role of ego-defensive motivation incited by an unpleasant and frightening topic. The effects could also be mediated by the amount of personal experiences with people having psychiatric diagnoses. An important implication for future campaigns aimed at reducing the

mental illness stigma in society is that caution should be taken with regard to the characteristics of the individuals whose attitudes we attempt to change. Different cognitive styles entail different approaches to information and in some cases it

is particularly important to anticipate and try to overcome the possible sources

of resistance. What encourages us is that it seems that this is not an impossible task.

To briefly summarize our findings, our results indicate that matching

a persuasive message to an aspect of a recipient’s self-concept elicits neither

more argument scrutiny nor biased assimilation. It appears that matching effects are not as universal as thought and can depend on the topic chosen. There are, however, two important limitations to our conclusions. Firstly, there are different types of matching (functional matching, matching to attitude base, social identity etc.) which can be guided by different sets of principles. Self-concept matching should be further investigated, since it is not as empirically founded as functional matching, and we can presume that in this case more complex

effects and interactions are yet to be found. Secondly, in studying self-concept matching, care should be taken regarding the aspect of self-concept that is used. The cognitive style variable used in this study is highly specific since it is a trait engaged in the persuasion process itself, so that the message appeal and task requirements interfere. Different results could be obtained with other variables where there is no such interference. We would also suggest that future researchers use a more varied range of attitude objects, especially those that are more involving and personally important, as a means of reaching more valid conclusions on the process of attitude change. Perhaps the most general question raised by our study is the nature of the effect of positive feedback on motivation, and more specifically, motivation to process persuasive messages. Future research should be aimed at understanding the processes that underpin these effects – for instance, how they depend on the context of persuasion, message or source characteristics or type of feedback

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given. On the other hand, only further research of matching effects can show the possibilities and limitations of using this approach in attempts to enhance persuasion. In particular, self-concept matching opens a variety of research possibilities (matching persuasive messages to different characteristics or traits, different aspects of self-concept etc.). Investigations of bonds between attitudes and self appear to be a promising area of research that can offer important insights into the structure and dynamic of both the self and attitudes.

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Appendix 1 The Strong and Weak Versions of the Persuasive Message

Strong arguments In the last few years, a steady increase in the number of people suffering from mental disorders has been recorded in Serbia, which was the reason to adopt the National strategy for mental health. An important issue taken up by this strategy are the public attitudes towards people with psychiatric diagnoses. The National mental health committee official, Doctor Jelena Milićević participated in the programme Belgrade chronicle (shown on the 8 th of May, 2008) on national television (RTS). We would now like to ask you to carefully read some excerpts from the transcript of this conversation. Programme host: Mrs. Milicevic, what is your personal opinion about the public attitudes towards individuals with psychiatric diagnoses? Dr. Milićević: I have to say that the wide-spread social stigmatisation is a far more serious obstacle for these people to lead a normal life than the actual difficulties they experience. At a recently held conference at The Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade, we concluded that it is essential for the rehabilitation of the individuals with serious psychiatric diagnoses that they are included in the community and not isolated. Programme host: The greatest obstacle to inclusion of these individuals into the community is the fear of their violent behaviour. Dr. Milićević: This fear is not well-founded. Research done by forensic psychologists shows that only 4% of persons with serious psychiatric diagnoses had ever committed a crime. What is more, studies conducted in several countries showed that a reduced number of hospitalizations and inclusion of persons with serious psychiatric diagnoses did not result in an increased number of homicides committed by these people. Programme host: But, do these individuals truly pose less threat to others than it is believed? Dr. Milićević: We have recently heard a presentation on this topic at a scientific conference, which concluded that, after an adequate drug treatment, the probability that a person with serious psychiatric diagnoses would act violently is less than for a member of the ‘normal’ population.

Weak arguments In the last few years, a steady increase in the number of people suffering from mental disorders has been recorded in Serbia, which was the reason to adopt the National strategy for mental health. An important issue taken up by this strategy are the public attitudes towards people with psychiatric diagnoses. The National mental health committee official, Doctor Jelena Milićević participated in the programme Belgrade chronicle (shown on the 8 th of May,

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2008) on national television (RTS). We would now like to ask you to carefully read some excerpts from the transcript of this conversation. Programme host: Mrs. Milicevic, what is your personal opinion about the public attitudes towards individuals with psychiatric diagnoses? Dr. Milićević: My colleagues from the National committee of mental health and I must constantly remind the public of the fact that through respecting the rights of people with serious psychiatric diagnosis we show our humanity. I remind you once again of something you should always bear in mind, and that is when a person gets a serious psychiatric diagnosis once, it is left with them for the rest of their life. Programme host: The greatest obstacle to inclusion of these individuals into the community is the fear of their violent behaviour. Dr. Milićević: This fear is not well-founded. Statistical data gathered by the American Association of Psychiatrists show that only 4% of people with serious psychiatric diagnoses possess firearms. Another interesting piece of information are the findings of researchers from Great Britain, which show that 60% of people in this country believe that persons with serious psychiatric diagnosis should have more rights. Programme host: What message do you have for our viewers about this

topic? Dr. Milićević: We can conclude that our country should become a leader in South-eastern Europe in every respect, above all when it comes to the rights of people with serious psychiatric diagnoses.

Appendix 2 Message Frames Used For The Matching Manipulation

The “thoughtful” frame Introduction: “Your results show that you are the kind of person who likes hearing different opinions on a certain issue, before you make your own judgement. You wish to be informed in detail, to look at all sides of a problem and only then will you be ready to form your own opinion.” Summary: “As you can see, this is a topic of such complexity that making any judgement requires careful consideration of all arguments.”

The “non-thoughtful” frame Introduction: “Your results show that you are the kind of person not too fond of elaborating each and every issue that you are expected to make a judgement about. You do not like analyzing every little detail, and prefer simply saying what you have in mind and keeping things as simple as possible.” Summary: “As you can see, this is a topic of such complexity that it is best to base your judgement on intuition.”

PSIHOLOGIJA, 2010, Vol. 43 (3), © 2010 by the Serbian Psychological Association

UDC 159.97.072:616.89-008.454 DOI: 10.2298/PSI1003253M

Cognitive Reactivity to Sad Mood:

The Importance of the First Depressive Episode

Zorica Marić 1 and Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden 23

1 REBT Affiliated Training Center of Albert Ellis Institute, Belgrade, Serbia 2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Cognitive reactivity to sad mood refers to the degree to which a mild dysphoric state reactivates negative thinking patterns. In this research, the contribution of the history of depression, the length of the current depressive episode and the intensity of the depressive symptoms were assessed in explaining the cognitive reactivity to sad mood measured with the Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity (LEIDS). The sample consisted of 123 depressed outpatients. The results of principal components analysis suggested a three-factor solution of the LEIDS. The intensity of depressive symptoms, the history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode were all significant in explaining cognitive reactivity to sad mood. We have also found out a significant effect of interaction of the history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode, which demonstrated that a prolonged depression does not induce a stronger cognitive reactivity to sad mood during the relapse of a depressive episode, while during the first depressive episode a longer duration of depression does induce a stronger cognitive reactivity. Such a result demonstrates that the length of the first depressive episode, regardless of its intensity, is crucially important for the formation of cognitive reactivity.

Key words: depression, cognitive reactivity to sad mood, history of depression, length of the current depressive episode, Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity

Dysfunctional cognitions are considered to be important causative and maintaining factors of depression (Ellis, 1963; Beck, 1967). Research has shown, however, that dysfunctional cognitions of depressed persons disappear once the depressed persons reach full remission of depressive episode after medication or cognitive therapy (Coyne & Gotlib, 1983; Simons, Garfield, & Murphy, 1984). Cognitive theories have explained these findings by stating that dysfunctional cognitions do not disappear during remission of depressive episodes, but remain “latently present” and could be easily activated by stress (Teasdale, 1988;

Corresponding author: tvgvozde@f.bg.ac.rs

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254 DEPRESSIVE EPISODE

Miranda & Persons, 1988; Segal, Williams, Teasdale, & Gemar, 1996). This phenomenon is well known in research literature as cognitive reactivity. The results of the very important previous research (Segal, Gemar, & Williams, 1999) suggest that the cognitive reactivity to sad mood is a residual of the previous depression. Depressive episodes leave a latent cognitive deficit which can be easily activated with the feeling of sad mood with which it is associatively connected in the memory. However, further research of aetiology of cognitive reactivity to sad mood is needed, including the contribution of the length of the previous depressive episode and the intensity of the depressive symptoms. Also, the fact that cognitive reactivity predicts recurrences of depression leaves it undetermined whether cognitive reactivity is causally implicated in the first episode of depression (Segal, Kennedy, Gemar, Hood, Pederson, & Buis, 2006). Previous research of this construct has predominantly made use of laboratory assessment of changes of dysfunctional cognitions produced by experimentally induced sad mood. Some of the objections to this method suggest that such an approach does not make it possible for assessment of cognitive reactivity to sad mood to be made in natural conditions and that it exposes vulnerable subjects to an increased risk of development of a new depressive episode (Van der Does, 2002). Data also suggest that 25% of experimental subjects do not react to the induction of sad mood at all, which produces sample dropout (Martin, 1990). These objections have repelled researchers, so studies of cognitive reactivity to sad mood have remained scarce in comparison to studies of other constructs. One of the ways to overcome such a situation was the creation of the Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity (LEIDS, Van der Does, 2002). Since this instrument permits self-assessment of cognitive reactivity to sad mood in natural conditions, we believed that it would be a useful tool. This research aims to assess the contribution of the history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode in explaining the cognitive reactivity to sad mood measured with LEIDS subscales. Given the theoretical position that during a depressive episode there occurs a strengthening of the associative link between negative thoughts and sad mood (Ingram, Miranda, & Segal, 1998; Segal et al., 1999), we can predict that persons with a previous history of depressive episodes would have higher levels of cognitive reactivity to sad mood than persons who were never depressed. We can also predict that the length of the current depressive episode would affect the level of cognitive reactivity to sad mood, because a long depression strengthens associative links between negative thoughts and sad mood. However, it is possible that the length of the first depressive episode is more influential than the length of subsequent depressive episodes. If this hypothesis comes to be true, we could expect a significant interaction effect between the history of depression and the length of a depressive episode.

Zorica Marić and Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden

255

Method

Participants and procedure: Our sample consisted of 123 female outpatients who had been diagnosed as suffering from unipolar mood disorder (nonpsychotic major depression) in several medical institutions in Serbia. None had a history of bipolar affective disorder or concurrent drug and alcohol abuse. In the sample, there were 86 participants whose current depressive episode had been lasting less than 6 months and 37 participants whose current depressive episode had been lasting more than 6 months. There were 30 participants without history of depression and 93 participants with history of depression. Participants’ age varied from 19 to 65 years (M = 36, SD = 14.6). These patients were assessed by psychiatrists using ICD–10 (WHO, 1992). The participants also filled out self-assessment scales at their homes and brought them back, over a period of two weeks.

Measures: Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity Subscales (LEIDS; Van der Does, 2002; Marić, 2008). The original LEIDS (Van der Does, 2002) is a 26-item scale measuring cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Prior to answering the questionnaire, the participants are instructed to imagine feeling somewhat sad (but not depressed) and then to fill out 26 items. In a previous study carried out in a student sample in Serbia (Marić, 2008) the results of factor analysis revealed three factors. Two items were excluded for MSA lower than .50 (Cerny & Kaiser, 1977) and two other for equal loadings on two factors. Factor Negative Self-Evaluation (10 items) was predominantly made of items reflecting “depressive cognitive triad” (Beck, 1996), since it measures negative evaluation of self, in regard to personal future, capabilities and life. Factor Avoidance (7 items), was consistent with the cognitive problem solving theory (D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2001) since it expresses an avoiding style of problem solving. Factor Interpersonal Sensitivity (5 items) corresponded to the dimensions of the trait “interpersonal sensitivity” (Boyce, Parker, Barnett, Cooney, & Smith, 1991). Internal consistencies for the subscales Negative self-Evaluation and Avoidance were good (Cronbach’s alpha .90 and .83), while the subscale Interpersonal Sensitivity had a somewhat weaker internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha .71). Moreover, the three months prospective study examined the predictive validity of the three subscales and revealed that they significantly explained the variance of depressive symptoms independently of the explanation of initial symptoms of depression, dysfunctional attitudes, ruminative style and chronic suppression (Marić, 2008). In this study we calculated summation scores for the three subscales according to the results obtained in the previous study. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II; Beck, Steer & Garbin, 1988). BDI consists of 21 categories of statements relating to depressive symptoms over the previous two weeks. Each of the categories contains statements that can be ranked on a 4-point scale according to the intensity of symptoms. In studies carried out in Serbia, the Beck Depression Inventory revealed a good internal consistency and validity (Marić, 2002, 2003). A questionnaire about the history and length of depression (Marić, 2008). Data on the history of depression comprised answers to two questions: a. “Have you ever had, earlier in your life, a period of depression (when you were very sad most of the time and/or uninterested in the things you usually enjoy)”? (1-yes; 2-no); b. “If you have, how long did it last”? (1. less than two weeks; 2. more than two weeks, but less than six months; 3. more than six months). The participants who had experienced a period of depressive mood that had lasted more than two weeks were defined as participants “with a history of depressive symptoms”, while others were defined as participants “without a history of depression”. Data on the length of the current depression comprised answers to two questions: a. “Have you been depressed during the last two weeks (very sad most of the time and/or uninterested in the things you usually enjoy)”? (1-yes; 2-no), b. “If you have, how long ago did it start”? (1. less than two weeks; 2. more than two weeks, but less than six months; 3. more than six months).

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256 DEPRESSIVE EPISODE

Data were analyzed in the SPSS statistical package. The data analysis comprised descriptive analysis, reliability analysis and MANCOVA.

Results

Descriptive data Means and SDs of the LEIDS subscales are given in Table 1. We calculated summation scores and SDs for the whole sample and for the subgroups formed according to the length and the history of depression. For the variable “length”, we assigned number 1 to the patients who are depressed less than six months, but more than 2 weeks and number 2 for the patients who are depressed more than 6 months. For the variable “history”, we assigned number 1 to the patients with no history of depression, and number 2 to the patients with history of depression. Additionally, means and SD for the BDI and age were calculated for the whole sample. The mean age for the whole sample was 35.57 (SD = 14.61), and the mean Beck Depression Inventory score was 24.71 (SD = 11.81).

Table 1. Means and standard deviations of the LEIDS subscales for the subgroups formed according to the length and the history of depression and for the whole sample

Negative

Self-Evaluation

Avoidance

Interpersonal

Sensitivity

History

1

2

Length

N

1 19

2 11

1 67

2 26

Whole sample

123

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

14.63

7.98

13.58

7.04

6.47

5.21

27.09

10.23

20.91

4.85

8.73

4.24

25.46

7.64

19.69

5.39

7.06

3.70

29.35

7.36

18.77

5.38

8.19

5.06

24.77

9.05

18.66

5.99

7.36

4.31

Reliability data Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for LEIDS subscales were expected, given the number of items per subscale. The results are shown in Table 2 bellow.

Table 2: Reliability analysis

 

Number

Inter-item

Item-total

of items

Alpha

(average r)

(range r)

Negative Self-Evaluation

10

.84

.35

.38 – .65

Avoidance

7

.76

.31

.37 – .62

Interpersonal Sensitivity

5

.66

.28

.36 – .49

Beck Depression Inventory

21

.90

.31

.24 – .72

Zorica Marić and Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden

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Correlations The subscale Negative Self-Evaluation had significant positive zero-order correlations with subscales Avoidance and Interpersonal sensitivity, while the subscale Interpersonal Sensitivity did not have a significant correlation with the subscale Avoidance. All subscales have significant positive correlations with severity of depressive symptoms. The results are shown in Table 3 bellow.

Table 3. Correlations (zero-order)

Negative

Interpersonal

 

Self-Evaluation

Avoidance

sensitivity

BDI

Negative Self-Evaluation

1.000

Avoidance

.518**

1.000

.

Interpersonal Sensitivity

.185*

.177

1.000

BDI

.586**

.392**

.243**

1.000

Age

.255**

.314**

.045

.552**

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

Contribution of the history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode in predicting scores on LEIDS subscales To test our hypothesis we applied the method of multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) with the three subscales of the LEIDS as dependent variables. Categorical variables of the history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode were treated as fixed factors (independent variables), while the intensity of depression and age were treated as covariates in the model. The results of MANCOVA demonstrated a significant main effect for the length of the depression. The main effect for the history of depression was not significant. The interaction effect of the history and the length of the depression was significant, suggesting that prolonged depression affects LEIDS scores differently in patients with and without history of depression. The main effect is significant independently of the intensity of the depression and patients’ age. The results for the effects are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Multivariate Tests

 

Wilks’ Lambda

F

Sig.

History of Depression

.93

2.54

.059

Length of the Depression

.88

4.77

.004

History * Length

.91

3.63

.015

COGNITIVE REACTIVITY TO SAD MOOD: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST

258 DEPRESSIVE EPISODE

Univariate Test of Between-Subjects Effect for the subscale Negative Self- Evaluation indicated the significant main effect for the history of depression (F (1, 117) = 7.37, p = .008), for the length of the depression (F (1, 117) = 13.04, p = .000), and for the interaction between history of depression and length of depression (F (1, 117) = 5.92, p = .017). The results for the subscale Avoidance indicated the significant effect for the interaction between history of depression and length of depression (F (1, 117) = 8.73, p = .004). The main effects for the history of depression and the length of depression were not significant. The significant main effects are independent of current depression intensity and age, since we treated BDI scores and age as covariates in the model. The results for the subscale Interpersonal Sensitivity indicated no significant main effects. All main effects are significant independently of the intensity of the depression and patients’ age. Figure 1 demonstrates the interaction effects for the subscale Negative Self-Evaluation and Figure 2 for the subscale Avoidance. As we can see, the length of depression did not significantly affect the two LEIDS subscales in the subsample of persons with a history of depression (the dotted line). In the subsample of persons without a history of depression (the full line), a longer duration of current depression was related to higher scores of the total of the LEIDS and two subscales.

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 History of depression 14 W ith out
30
28
26
24
22
20
18
16
History of depression
14
W ith out a h istor y
12
10
W ith a hi story
Less tha n 6 mo nths
More than 6 mon th s
LEIDS - NegativeSelf-Evaluation

Length of depression

Figure 1. The interaction effect between history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode for the subscale Negative Self-Evaluation

Zorica Marić and Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden

259

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 History of depression 14 Without a history
30
28
26
24
22
20
18
16
History of depression
14
Without a history
12
10
With a history
Less
than 6 months
More than 6 months
Length of depression
LEIDS- Avoidance

Figure 2. The interaction effect between history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode for the subscale Avoidance

DISCUSSION

The results demonstrated that there was a significant effect of interaction of the history of depression and the length of depressive episode in explanation of the variance of the results on the subscales Negative Self-Evaluation and Avoidance. This result demonstrated that the length of depression did not identically affect the scores of these subscales in the sample of persons who had already had depression in the past and those who had been experiencing it for the first time. The latter had higher results on the subscales, if their depression had been lasting more than six months, while the persons who had already been depressed in the past had the same results on these subscales, regardless of the length of the current depressive episode. Therefore, the results are in accordance with the assumption that depressive episodes produce a latent cognitive deficit that can easily be activated with feelings of sadness with which it is associatively linked (Van der Does, 2002). On the basis of our results, we can conclude that the length of the first depressive episode, regardless of its intensity, is crucially important for the formation of a propensity to react to sad mood by negative self-evaluation and avoidance of problems and difficulties. In recurring depressive episodes, the propensity to react to sad mood by negative self-evaluation and avoidance of problems does not change significantly with a prolonged duration of depression. The results could be explained by the model of information processing (Ingram et al., 1998) that relies on the construct of associative memory network (Bower, 1981). This construct relates to a memory system made of memory

COGNITIVE REACTIVITY TO SAD MOOD: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST

260 DEPRESSIVE EPISODE

units that are mutually connected by associative networks. The wider and more elaborated an associative network is, the easier its activation and the more complicated its deactivation become. Associative networks grow stronger and wider when emotional and cognitive units are simultaneously activated several times. Therefore, if a depressive episode lasts longer, a depressive cognition associated with sad mood and dysphoria will be more often used. Repeated use of depressive cognitions strengthens associative links between depressive thoughts and sad mood (Segal et el., 1999). This means that persons with a history of depression are more cognitively vulnerable and therefore exposed to a higher risk of development of a new depressive episode. Our study has several limitations. The participants were diagnosed through usual clinical interviews conducted by psychiatrists in the course of their regular examinations of outpatients by ICD–10 criteria. Because of temporal and financial limitations, no use was made of a DSM-IV standardized diagnostic interview that would demand more time and necessitate a previous professional training. The history of depression and the length of the current depressive episode were assessed on the basis of the participants’ memory alone, which means that these data can be unreliable. The intensity of a depressive episode was assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory, the commonly used instrument of assessment of depressive symptoms in cognitive-behavioural studies (Kendall, Hollon, Beck, Hammen, & Ingram, 1987). Although this inventory is a reliable and valid measure of depressive symptoms, it is not sufficient for a diagnosis of clinical depression. According to the advocates of the theory of discontinuity of depression, the unique valid procedure is a structured clinical interview for depression (Gotlib & Hammen, 1992). Finally, it is obvious that our conclusions are limited to females, since our sample consisted of female patients. Future research could test the hypothesis of the relation of the Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity and the history and the length of depression in a mixed clinical sample, where assessment of clinical depression could be accomplished in better conditions. Moreover, there remains the possibility to prospectively examine whether the subscales Negative self-Evaluation and Avoidance could predict the acute beginning of clinical depression. In that case, a test-retest sample should be large, in order to comprise a sufficient number of persons who are in stable remission from a previous depressive episode, as well as a sufficient number of persons who were never depressed.

CONCLUSION Among many significant results, one of the most important ones suggests that the length of the first depressive episode, regardless of its intensity, is of crucial importance for the formation of cognitive reactivity to sad mood. The results also give directions for conclusions about the construct-validity of the Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity. They suggest that the subscales Negative

Zorica Marić and Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden

261

Assessment and Avoidance are valid indicators of cognitive reactivity to sad mood in a clinical sample. The results also question the construct-validity of the subscale Interpersonal Sensitivity, given the fact that this subscale did not perform according to the hypothesis of the origins of cognitive reactivity.

REFERENCES

Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York:

Harper & Row. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77 –100. Beck, A. T. (1996). Beyond Belief: A Theory of Modes, Personality, and Psychopathology. In P. M. Salkovskis (Ed.), Frontiers of Cognitive Therapy (pp. 1–25) . New York: Guilford Press. Bower, G. H. (1981). Mood and memory. American Psychologist, 36, 129–148. Boyce, P., Parker, G., Barnett, B., Cooney, M., & Smith, F. (1991). Personality as a vulnerability factor to depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 159, 106–114. Cerny, B. A., & Kaiser, H. F. (1977). A study of a measure of sampling adequacy for factor- analytic correlation matrices. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 12, 43–47. Coyne, J. C., & Gotlib, I. H. (1983). The role of cognition in depression: A critical appraisal. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 472–505. D’Zurilla, T. J., & Nezu, A. M. (2001). Problem-solving therapies.In K. S. Dobson (Ed.), Handbook of cognitive–behavioral therapies (pp. 211–245). New York: Guilford Press. Ellis, A. (1963). Reason and emotion in Psychotherapy. New York: Citadel Press Book. Gotlib, I. H., & Hammen, C. L., (1992). Psychological aspects of depression –Toward cognitive – interpersonal integration. New York: Wiley. Ingram, R. E., Miranda, J., & Segal. Z. V. (1998). Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression. New York: Guilford Press. Kendall, P. C., Hollon, S. D., Beck, A. T., Hammen, C. L., & Ingram, R. E. (1987). Issues and recommendations regarding use of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, 289–299. Marić, Z. (2002). Kognitivni činioci emocije i emocionalnog poremećaja iz ugla Racionalno- emotivne bihejvioralne terapije. Magistarski rad. Filozofski fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu. Marić, Z. (2003). Uloga disfunkcionalnih stavova u depresivnom raspoloženju i provera mediacionog efekta “vrelih“ evaluativnih kognicija. Psihologija, 36 (1), 79–89. Marić, Z. (2008). Kognitivna reaktivnost kao mera osetljivosti na depresivni afekt – validacija instrumenta i konstrukta iz ugla kognitivno-bihejvioralne teorije depresije. Doktorska disertacija. Filozofski fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu. Martin, M. (1990). On the induction of mood. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 669–697. Miranda, J., & Persons, J. B. (1988). Dysfunctional attitudes are mood-state dependent. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 76–79. Segal, Z. V., Gemar, M. C., & Williams, S. (1999). Differential cognitive response to a mood challenge following successful cognitive therapy or pharmacotherapy for unipolar depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 3–10. Segal, Z. V., Kennedy, S., Gemar, M. C., Hood, K., Pederson, R., & Buis, T. (2006). Cognitivne reactivity to sad mood provocation and the prediction of depressive relapse. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 749 – 755.

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Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M., Teasdale, J. D., & Gemar, M. (1996). A cognitive science perspective on kindling and episode sensitization in recurrent affective disorder. Psychological Medicine, 26, 371–380. Simons A. D., Garfield S. L., & Murphy G. E. (1984). The process of change in cognitive therapy and pharmacotherapy for depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 45–51. Teasdale, J. D. (1988). Cognitive vulnerability to persistent depression. Cognition and Emotion, 2, 247–274. Van der Does, W. (2002). Cognitive reactivity to sad mood: structure and validity of a new measure. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 40, 105–120. World Health Organization (1992). ICD–10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders:

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PSIHOLOGIJA, 2010, Vol. 43 (3), © 2010 by the Serbian Psychological Association

UDK 159.928.23.072-057.874 DOI: 10.2298/PSI1003263J

Daroviti podbacivač u školi: neko ko ima problem, ili „buntovnik“ koji pravi problem?

Vitomir Jovanović, 1 Pregrad Teovanović, 2 Tatjana Mentus 2 i Milina Petrović 1

1 Odeljenje za psihologiju, Filozofski fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu 2 Fakultet za specijalnu edukaciju i rehabilitaciju, Univerzitet u Beogradu

U radu su poređeni daroviti učenici koji u školi podbacuju sa darovitim uspešnim i ostalim učenicima, i to na dimenzijama self-koncepta (slike o sebi), stavova prema školi i samoprocene inteligencije. Uzorku gimnazijalaca iz Beograda (N = 434) zadata je baterija testova sposobnosti i na osnovu postignuća na njima i školskog uspeha izdvojene su tri podgrupe ispitanika: daroviti podbacivači (N 1 = 26), daroviti (N 2 = 81) i ostali (N 3 = 332). Rezultati jednofaktoske analize varijanse ukazuju da između tri grupe postoje značajne razlike na dimenzijama stavova prema školi, konkretno, na subskalama akademske samopercepcije, stavova prema nastavnicima, procene ciljeva, motivacije i samoregulacije; razlike su takođe nađene na sledećim dimenzijama self-koncepta: procena sposobnosti, procena postignuća i akademsko samopouzdanje. Navedene dimenzije pokazuju najveće korelacije sa kanoničkom funkcijom koja najbolje diskriminiše podbacivače od darovitih učenika (koeficijent .70, uspešnost klasifikacije 91.6%). Učenici koji podbacuju, iako svoju inteligenciju procenjuju jednako visoko kao daroviti učenici, ipak ne nalaze izvore svog samopouzdanja u školskom postignuću. Daroviti podbacivači procenjuju obrazovne ciljeve kao manje bitne, vide sebe kao manje sposobne i voljne da se angažuju u školskom kontekstu, nisu motivisani da ulože napor u ostvarivanje ciljeva i skloniji su da uđu u konflikte sa nastavnicima u nameri da ospore njihov autoritet. Nalazi sugerišu da biti podbacivač donekle može predstavljati i „voljan“ izbor koji se koristi kao strategija otpora, i da podbacivanje ne mora biti samo posledica intrapsihičkih konflikata ili nedostatka vere u sopstvene sposobnosti, mada postoji mogućnost da se nalazi interpretiraju i drugačije.

Ključne reči: darovitost, podbacivanje, stavovi prema školi, self-koncept, samoprocena inteligencije

Još je Termanova studija, u kojoj je tokom više decenija longitudinalno praćeno oko 1500 ispitanika svrstanih u 1% najboljih po skoru na testu inteligencije (IQ-u), pokazala da izvestan broj ispitanika ne ostvaruje postignuće koje bi se očekivalo na osnovu njihovih intelektualnih sposobnosti (Zuo & Cramond, 2001). Oni se mogu označiti kao podbacivači (underachievers) (Altaras, 2006).

Kontakt adresa: vitomirj@gmail.com, vpjovano@f.bg.ac.rs.

DAROVITI PODBACIVAČ U ŠKOLI: NEKO KO IMA PROBLEM, ILI „BUNTOVNIK“ KOJI

264 PRAVI PROBLEM?

Istraživači se i dalje ne slažu oko toga kako fenomen podbacivanja treba definisati, pa čak i da li on zaista postoji. Skeptici iznose argument da podbacivanje nije legitimna psihološka kategorija, već puki statistički artefakt (prema Rimm, 2008)

i da se podbacivanje identifikuje u odnosu na neku arbitrarno uspostavljenu

normu. Ipak, među autorima koji se bave ovim fenomenom i koji nude različite

definicije podbacivanja postoji zajednički imenitelj, a to je upućivanje na razliku između potencijala (sposobnosti) i postignuća (Dowdall & Colangelo, 1982; Reis & McCoach, 2000). Iz ovog ugla, nesklad između mogućeg (očekivanog)

i ostvarenog učinka čini srž pojma podbacivanja. Većina autora se prilikom

operacionalizacije pojma sposobnosti oslanja na standardizovane testove inteligencije, dok postignuće uglavnom određuju kao aktuelnu meru školskog (ili akademskog) uspeha (Altaras, 2006; Dowdall & Colangelo, 1982; Reis & McCoach, 2000). Na ovaj način je fenomen podbacivanja operacionalizovan i

u ovoj studiji. Podbacivanje se najčešće istražuje na darovitim učenicima, gde

eventualna razlika između potencijala i postignuća dostiže najveće razmere. Postoje posebni problemi u identifikaciji darovitih učenika, iz čega slede

i problemi u identifikaciji darovitih podbacivača; dodatno, postavlja se pitanje

kolika treba da bude diskrepanca između potencijala i postignuća da bi neko bio označen kao podbacivač. Različiti autori predlažu različite kriterijume darovitosti. S jedne strane, Ganje (Gagné, 2005) pojmove darovitosti i talenta definiše široko, tako da se ovi odnose na gornjih 10% populacije po prirodnim sposobnostima u nekom domenu, odnosno na gornjih 10% po određenoj sistematski razvijenoj veštini. Kalahanova i Milerova, sa druge strane, darovitog pojedinca vide kao inovatora koji rešava probleme u nekoj akademskoj zajednici (Callahan & Miller, 2005), čime se približavaju definisanju darovitosti kao eminentnosti i kreativnosti i Renzulijevoj koncepciji kreativne produktivnosti (Renzulli, 2005). U ovom radu ćemo se držati šireg određenja darovitosti.

Drugo važno pitanje tiče se faktora koji utiču na podbacivanje. U literaturi nailazimo na tri etiološka modela: individualni, porodični i školski (Baker, Bridger, & Evans, 1998). Individualni model je proistekao iz medicinskog modela u psihologiji, a zasniva se na uverenju da se osnovni uzrok nastanka podbacivanja nalaze u samom učeniku – njegovim motivacionim, bihejvioralnim i emocionalnim problemima. Porodični model etiologije bazira se na pretpostavci da podbacivanje proističe iz nesposobnosti porodice da adekvatno podrži dete i tumači podbacivanje kao indikator porodičnog stresa. Školski model odražava širi pristup, koji uzima u obzir interakciju unutar različitih konteksta kao potencijalne determinante ponašanja, a podbacivanje posmatra kao rezultat sukoba između potreba deteta i školskog okruženja. Na najglobalnijem nivou analize, faktori se mogu podeliti na intrapersonalne i interpersonalne, čime se pažnja pomera samo sa psihičkih faktora podbacivanja ka (psiho)socijalnim (Altaras, 2006; Rimm, 2008), koji mogu obuhvatiti šire društvene i obrazovne prakse, diskurse i normativna određenja zajednice (Ber, 2001; Stojnov, 2005).

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Model koji kombinuje psihičke i socijalne faktore u rasvetljavanju etiologije podbacivanja uživa ubedljivo najveću podršku među istraživačima ove oblasti (Altaras, 2006). Istraživači su itekako svesni da podbacivanje ne izvire samo iz intrapsihičkih problema podbacivača, ali donekle ostaje otvoreno pitanje kako širi diskurzivni faktori utiču na fenomen podbacivanja (no, to pitanje prevazilazi okvire ovoga rada). Što se tiče uticaja intrapsihičkih faktora na podbacivanje, istraživanja pokazuju da su daroviti podbacivači po karakteristikama ličnosti sličniji profilu nedarovitih podbacivača nego darovitih uspešnih učenika (Dowdall & Colangelo, 1982; Altaras, 2006). U poređenju sa darovitima, daroviti podbacivači pokazuju se kao socijalno manje zreli, imaju više emocionalnih problema, češće su angažovani u antisocijalnim aktivnostima, i imaju nestabilniji self-koncept (Bricklin & Bricklin, 1967; Colangelo & Pfleger, 1979; Hecht, 1975; Pringle, 1970, sve prema Dowdall & Colangelo, 1982). Činioci koji se najčešće povezuju

sa podbacivanjem uključuju nizak akademski self-koncept (slika o sebi) (Supplee, 1990), nisku motivaciju i krizu identiteta (Winner, 2005), nisko postavljene ciljeve (McCall, Evahn, & Kratzer, 1992, prema Reis & McCoach, 2000) i negativne stavove prema nastavnicima i školi (Colangelo, Kerr, Christensen, & Maxey, 1993; Rimm, 1995), pri čemu i dalje ostaje nerazjašnjeno da li su

i u kakvoj vezi ovi intrapsihički faktori sa širim normativnim i diskurzivnim

obrascima koji prvenstveno obuhvataju obrazovni sistem. U novije vreme, javlja

se i slika darovitog podbacivača kao kreativca i/ili buntovnika, a njoj doprinose

nalazi istraživanja koji kod podbacivača uviđaju izrazitu potrebu za nezavisnošću, interesovanja koja izlaze iz okvira kurikuluma, orijentaciju na socijalnu, a ne na akademsku sferu i neanalitički saznajni stil (Altaras, 2006; Reis & McCoach, 2000). U jednom istraživanju (Altaras, 2006), daroviti podbacivači izdvojili su

se kao učenici sa najvišim skorovima na dimenziji otvorenosti, koja pretpostavlja

sklonost ka nezavisnom mišljenju, kritičnosti i proširenju iskustva (Knežević,

Džamonja-Ignjatović i Đurić-Jočić, 2004). Poznato je da škola najčešće ne izlazi

u susret ovim potrebama, a i sama širina interesovanja može ometati fokusiranje na školsko gradivo. Ako, sa druge strane, posmatramo samo društvene faktore koji mogu uticati na podbacivanje u školi, onda bi se ono tumačilo prvenstveno kao posledica delovanja obrazovnog sistema, pri čemu se misli na neizlaženje

u susret potrebama darovite dece, s jedne strane i na pretežno disciplinujuće

ustrojstvo obrazovnih institucija uopšte (Jovanović, 2008). Podbacivanje se tako predstavlja kao individualni strateški odgovor na ono što obrazovni sistem produkuje u skladu sa sopstvenim normama, pravilima i disciplinama (Fuko, 1997; Stojnov, 2005; Jovanović, 2008), čemu idu u prilog podaci da školski kontekst može imati negativan uticaj na učenje u odnosu na širi kontekst socio- kulturne sredine (Baucal i Jovanović, 2008). Podbacivanje, iz ove perspektive, može biti sagledano kao izbor da se kroz neuspeh i otpor, putem loših ocena,

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sačuva samopoštovanje (Džinović, Pavlović i Stojnov, 2006). Rajsova takođe smatra da ono što podbacivanje predstavlja za školsku upravu, društvo, pa i istraživače koji se bave ovom tematikom, iz perspektive samog podbacivača može biti shvaćeno kao „dostojanstveno odustajanje“ od postignućna relevantnog za školski kontekst (Reis, 1998) ili kao izraz želje darovitih učenika da budu „normalni“ poput ostalih (Winner, 2005). Ovakav pristup podbacivanju produkuje niz zanimljivih pitanja. Da li je podbacivač neko ko za sebe ne zna da je inteligentan? Da li je podbacivač neko ko sebe ne poštuje, neko ko sebe ne vrednuje i neko ko nije uklopljen u svoje socijalno okruženje? Ili to može biti i neko ko, uslovno rečeno, voljno bira neuspeh u školi jer iz njega može crpeti samopoštovanje i postići različitost? Stoga, postavljena su pitanja kako daroviti podbacivači procenjuju svoju inteligenciju, koje ciljeve sebi postavljaju, kako vide svoju školu i nastavnike i kako opažaju sami sebe. Ovo istraživanje, dakle, ima sledeće ciljeve: a) utvrditi da li postoje razlike u samoproceni inteligencije darovitih podbacivača u odnosu na darovite učenike i prosečene učenike, b) utvrditi da li postoje razlike u samopoštovanju i drugim komponentama self- koncepta (slike o sebi) između darovitih podbacivača i ostalih učenika i c) utvrditi da li postoje razlike u stavovima prema školi i nastavnicima između darovitih podbacivača i ostalih učenika.

Metod

Istraživanje počiva na jednofaktorskom trivalentnom multivarijantnom nacrtu, osim

u delu istraživanja u kojem nastojimo da utvrdimo koji linearni kompozit na najbolji način diferencira određene grupe ispitanika, kada nacrt ima formu složenog korelacionog.

Uzorak: Uzorak sačinjavaju učenici i učenice drugog i trećeg razreda beogradskih gimnazija (N = 434), i to Filološke (35%), Desete (32.3%), Pete (23.3%) i Matematičke gimnazije (9.4%). Prosečna starost ispitanika je 16.5 godina (SD = .73). U uzorku se našlo manje mladića (Nm = 176; 40.2%) nego devojaka (Nž = 262; 59.8%).

Varijable i instrumenti: Nezavisna varijabla je grupa, sa tri nivoa: uspešni daroviti, daroviti podbacivači i ostali (učenici koji nisu identifikovani kao intelektualno daroviti). Zavisne varijable su self-koncept, stavovi prema školi i samprocena inteligencije. Ovo se odnosi na analizu varijanse. Prilikom sprovođenja kanoničke diskriminacione analize, varijable grupisanja se smatraju zavisnim jer se u zadatku klasifikacije ispitanika upravo predviđa grupna pripadnost (Fajgelj, 2003). Korišćeni testovi sposobnosti su: a) Test kombinovanih rešenja (TKR; Bujas

i Krizmanić, 1969) koji se sastoji od dvadeset testovnih zadataka i nalikuje Ravenovim progresivnim matricama, s tim što se od ispitanika zahteva da izabere onu kombinaciju ponuđenih polja koja na najbolji način upotpunjuje matricu zadataka. Broj tačno izabranih polja varira u rasponu od jedan do tri. Vremensko ograničenje za rešavanje ovog testa je petnaest minuta. Rezultati validacione studije ukazuju da TKR ima zadovoljavajuće metrijske karakteristike, kao i da je prilikom njegovog rešavanja u najvećoj meri angažovana fluidna inteligencija i sposobnost spacijalne vizuelizacije (Teovanović, 2008). b) Subtestovi Verbalne serije Borislava Stevanovića (Stevanović, Dragićević, Štajnberger, i Bukvić, 1988). Sposobnost verbalnog rezonovanja procenjena je zadavanjem dva subtesta ovog instrumenta. Prvi od njih, Analogije (subtest četiri), sastoji se od trideset testovnih

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stavki, a vreme rešavanja je ograničeno na dva minuta. Od ispitanika se zahteva da uvidi odnos između dva prikazana elementa (npr. obuća i noga) i na osnovu analogije odabere odgovarajući pojam. U drugom subtestu (subtest pet), nazvanom Ispremetane rečenice, od ispitanika se traži da uvidi smisao rečenice u kojoj su reči ispremetane i da u skladu sa razumevanjem odgovori na postavljeno pitanje. Test ima dvadeset pet zadataka, a ispitanik na raspolaganju ima pet minuta. Kao indikatori školskog postignuća korišćeni su prosečna ocena na polugodištu tekuće školske godine i prosečna ocena na kraju prethodne školske godine.

Self-koncept je ispitivan instrumentom koji je razvio Vo (Waugh, 2001), a koji se sastoji od četrdeset pet stavki raspoređenih u tri dimenzije (od kojih je svaka operacionalizovana putem tri subskale): akademski self-koncept (subskale akademskog postignuća), socijalni self-koncept (subskale socijalnog selfa u odnosu na vršnjake istog i suprotnog pola, kao i subskala samoprocene prihvaćenosti učenika unutar sopstvene porodice) i samopredstavljanje (subskale fizičkog selfa, samopouzdanja i dostojnosti poverenja). Ispitanik iskazuje stepen slaganja sa tvrdnjom na četvorostepenoj skali.

Stavovi prema školi su ispitivani instrumentom SAAS-R (School Attitude Assessment Survey–Revised; McCoach & Siegle, 2003), koji meri stavove učenika prema različitim aspektima školske situacije. Instrument je razvijen sa namerom da olakša identifikaciju podbacivača u srednjim školama. Sastoji se od tridesetpet stavki (sedmostepene skale Likertovog tipa) raspoređenih u pet faktora:

a) Akademska samopercepcija. Odnosi se na stavove koje učenik ima prema vlastitim kognitivnim sposobnostima. Deo je opšteg uverenja o sopstvenoj vrednosti, ali se odnosi na percipirane akademske veštine, poverenje u vlasititu kompetentnost u školskom kontekstu (npr. „Brzo učim nove stvari u školi.“). Ranija istraživanja ukazuju da je ova dimenzija značajan prediktor školskog postignuća (McCoach & Siegle, 2003) i korelat podbacivanja.

b) Stavovi prema nastavnicima je dimenzija kojom se procenjuje afektivni odnos učenika prema ličnosti i ulozi nastavnika (npr. „U dobrim sam odnosima sa svojim nastavnicima.“). Autori instrumenta smatraju da je u ovom stavu moguće registrovati i odnos prema autoritetu uopšte, ali i afektivni stav prema samoj nastavi.

c) Stavovi prema školi predstavljaju dimenziju koja opisuje kakav je afektivni stav učenika prema školi koju pohađaju, nezavisno od nastave i od nastavnika. Skala se odnosi na vrednovanje sopstvene škole u odnosu na ostale (npr. „Ponosan sam na svoju školu.“, „Ova škola je pravi pogodak za mene.“).

d) Procena ciljeva predstavlja dimenziju koja meri doživljenu važnost dobrih ocena i uspeha u školi za učenika i procenu u kojoj meri dobre ocene predstavljaju važan cilj za učenika i za njegovu budućnost („Veoma je važno imati dobre ocene.“, „Uspeh u školi je važan za moje buduće ciljeve u karijeri.“).

e) Motivacija i samoregulacija predstavlja dimenziju koja govori u kojoj su meri učenici motivisani da ulažu sistematičan, posvećen i koncentrisan napor u školske zadatke. Ova dimenzija se može opisati i kao sklonost da se koriste metakognitivne strategije, samoupravljanje i samoregulisano učenje („Koristim različite strategije prilikom učenja novog gradiva.“,“Mnogo truda ulažem u svoj školski rad.“).

Samoprocena inteligencije je merena na osnovu jednog ajtema koji podstavlja zahtev ispitaniku da sebe svrsta u jednu od ponuđenih kategorija inteligencije: 1) „Ja sam natprosečno inteligentna osoba.“, 2) „Ja sam malo inteligentnija/inteligentniji od proseka.“, 3) „Ja sam

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prosečno inteligentna osoba.“, 4) „Po svojoj inteligenciji sam nešto ispod proseka.“ i 5) „Po svojoj inteligenciji sam značajno ispod proseka.“.

Procedura istraživanja: Iz opšteg uzorka su izdvojene tri grupe ispitanika: daroviti

(N 1 = 81), daroviti podbacivači (N 2 = 26) i ostali (N 3 = 332). Na uzorku gimnazijalaca, na osnovu rezultata primenjenih testova sposobnosti, izdvojena je grupa učenika koji se nalaze među 25% najuspešnijih po svom postignuću na testovima sposobnosti. Unutar ove selekcionisane grupe izdvojeno je 10% učenika sa najslabijim školskim postignućem

i oni su svrstani u grupu daroviti podbacivači, dok je ostatak ispitanika svrstan u grupu

daroviti. Postignuće je predstavljeno preko ekstrahovane glavne komponente za dve mere školskog uspeha (prosečna ocena na polugodištu i na kraju školske godine), pri čemu su obe prikazale isto zasićenje na faktoru školskog uspeha (.93) koji objašnjava 86.9% varijanse. Potencijal (postignuće na testovima sposobnosti) predstavljen je preko glavne kopmonente ekstrahovane iz tri testa sposobnosti pri čemu verbalni testovi (Analogije i Ispremetane rečenice) imaju veća zasićenja (.83 i .85, redom) u odnosu na TKR (.28). Na ovaj način smo uspeli da identifikujemo 26 podbacivača od ukupno 439 gimnazijalaca koliko je sačinjavalo

naš uzorak (tabela 1).

Tabela 1. Struktura uzorka.

Grupa

Frekvenca

Procenat

Daroviti podbacivači

26

5,9

Daroviti

81

18,5

Ostali

332

75,6

Ukupno

439

100

Uspostavljeni kriterijumi podele korišćeni su prilikom operacionalizacije kategoričke

varijable grupa, čija smo tri nivoa (daroviti, daroviti podbacivači i ostali) poredili na zavisnim varijablama, i to pomoću jednofaktorske analize varijanse. Post-hoc testovi su poslužili da,

u slučaju postojanja efekta faktora grupa, utvrdimo između kojih nivoa je on izraženiji. Na kraju, pomoću diskriminacione kanoničke analize nastojali smo da utvrdimo koji linearni kompozit se pokazuje najboljim diskriminatorom pomenutih grupa.

Rezultati

Daroviti podbacivači i daroviti učenici se ne razlikuju po svom skoru na testovima inteligencije: t(105, 1) = 0.26; p > .05. S druge strane, izražena je razlika u školskom uspehu na kraju polugodišta između darovitih podbacivača (AS = 2.30) i darovitih (AS = 4.48). Pored toga, postoji i razlika između darovitih podbacivača i grupe ostalih učenika (AS = 3.27) na faktoru školskog postignuća. Razlika između sve tri grupe je statistička značajna: F(272, 2) = 52.2 p < .001. Ovakvi nalazi govore u prilog valjanosti izvršene klasifikacije.

Razlike među grupama na skali stavova prema školi. Na četiri dimenzije stavova postoje statistički značajne razlike između darovitih, podbacivača i ostalih (tabela 2). Ove grupe ispitanika se ne razlikuju jedino na subskali stavova prema

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školi. Treba napomenuti da se ovom dimenzijom izražava stav učenika prema konkretnoj školi koju pohađaju, a ne prema školskom sistemu u celini. Nasuprot tome, postoje značajne razlike između podgrupa učenika s obzirom na akademsku samopercepciju, stavove koje imaju prema nastavnicima, vrednovanje školskih ciljeva i motivacione aspekte učenja u školskom kontekstu.

Tabela 2. Deskriptivne mere i rezultati jednofaktorske analaze varijanse za skalu stavova prema školi (u svim tabelama su zasenčene statistički značajne razlike)

 

Grupa

N

AS

σ

F

p

 

Daroviti

26

4.71

0.89

Akademska

podbacivači

19.51

.000

samopercepcija

Daroviti

81

5.83

0.92

Ostali

329

5.12

1.05

Daroviti

26

3.14

1.07

Stavovi prema

podbacivači

5.73

.004

nastavnicima

Daroviti

81

3.98

1.21

Ostali

329

3.55

1.28

Daroviti

26

4.79

1.97

Stavovi prema

podbacivači

1.13

.323

školi

Daroviti

81

4.79

1.84

Ostali

329

4.48

1.80

Daroviti

podbacivači

26

4.41

1.29

Procena ciljeva

Daroviti

81

5.40

1.18

9.19

.000

Ostali

327

5.45

1.17

Daroviti

26

3.03

1.17

Motivacija i

podbacivači

12.24

.000

samoregulacija

Daroviti

81

4.44

1.28

Ostali

326

4.19

1.28

Kako bismo utvrdili između kojih grupa učenika postoje statistički značajne razlike, koristili smo Sidakove post-hoc kriterijume značajnosti (tabela 3). Na svakoj od pomenutih dimenzija postoji razlika između podbacivača i darovitih. U slučaju akademske samopercepcije i stavova prema nastavnicima izostaje razlika između podgrupa darovitih podbacivača i ostalih. Međutim, upravo na tim subskalama postoje razlike između darovitih i ostalih.

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Tabela 3. Rezultati testiranja značajnosti razlika između podgrupa na skali stavova prema školi putem Sidak post hoc testa

 

Prva grupa

Druga grupa

p

 

Daroviti

Daroviti

.000

Akademska

podbacivači

 

samopercepcija

Ostali

.147

Daroviti

Ostali

.000

Daroviti

Daroviti

.012

Stavovi prema

podbacivači

Ostali

.265

nastavnicima

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.024

Daroviti

Daroviti

.001

Procena ciljeva

podbacivači

Ostali

.000

Daroviti

Ostali

.960

Daroviti

Daroviti

.000

Motivacija i

podbacivači

Ostali

.000

samoregulacija

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.290

Skala self-koncepta. Od postojećih devet subskala self-koncepta, njih pet je osetljivo na razlike između tri podgrupe ispitanika (tabela 4): procena sposobnosti i postignuća, akademsko samopouzdanje, slika o sebi unutar porodice i dostojnost poverenja. Razlike između podbacivača i druge dve grupe učenika na dimenzijama opšteg samopouzdanja i self-koncepta koji ima izvor u odnosima sa istopolnim vršnjacima nisu se pokazale statistički značajnim. Ne postoje statistički značajne razlike između podbacivača, darovitih i ostalih na subskalama fizičkog selfa i slike o sebi na osnovu odnosa sa vršnjacima suprotnog pola.

Tabela 4. Deskriptivne mere i rezultati jednofaktorske analaze varijanse za skalu self-koncepta.

 

Grupa

N

AS

SD

F

p

 

Podbacivači

26

1.75

0.42

Procena

sposobnosti

Daroviti

78

2.46

0.52

21.33

.000

Ostali

323

2.06

0.59

Daroviti

26

0.87

0.63

Procena

podbacivači

27.58

.000

postignuća

Daroviti

78

1.99

0.68

Ostali

320

1.51

0.72

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Akademsko

samopouzdanje

Slika o sebi na osnovu odnosa sa istopolnim vršnjacima

Slika o sebi na osnovu odnosa sa vršnjacima suprotnog pola

Slika o sebi unutar porodice

Fizički self

Opšte

samopouzdanje

Dostojnost

poverenja

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

Daroviti

podbacivači

Daroviti

Ostali

26

1.26

0.79

 

3.80

.023

78

1.65

0.57

319

1.54

0.62

26

1.97

0.65

 

2.96

.053

78

1.97

0.58

317

2.13

0.59

26

2.08

0.70

 

0.45

.638

77

2.20

0.62

314

2.18

0.55

26

2.32

0.8

76

2.58

0.61

4.36

.013

311

2.65

0.5

26

1.75

0.66

76

1.95

0.78

1.51

.221

307

1.99

0.67

26

2.20

0.91

77

2.31

0.66

2.88

.058

306

2.44

0.56

26

2.36

0.67

77

2.53

0.53

3.29

.038

306

2.60

0.46

Razlike između parova podgrupa ustanovljene su primenom Sidakovog post hoc testa (tabela 5). Statistički značajne razlike između grupa dobijene su u slučaju sva tri poređenja na dimenzijama procene sposobnosti i procene postignuća. Ostale razlike nisu unutar granica statističke značajnosti, osim na dimenzijama akademskog samopouzdanja, gde postoji razlika između podbacivača i darovitih, odnosno na subskali slike o sebi unutar porodice, na kojoj se razlikuju podbacivači i ostali.

DAROVITI PODBACIVAČ U ŠKOLI: NEKO KO IMA PROBLEM, ILI „BUNTOVNIK“ KOJI

272 PRAVI PROBLEM?

Tabela 5. Rezultati testiranja značajnosti razlika između podgrupa na skali self-koncepta putem Sidak post hoc testa

 

Prva grupa

Druga grupa

p

 

Daroviti

Daroviti

.000

Procena

podbacivači

Ostali

.028

sposobnosti

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.000

Daroviti

Daroviti

.000

Procena

podbacivači

Ostali

.000

postignuća

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.000

Daroviti

Daroviti

.024

Akademsko

podbacivači

Ostali

.089

samopouzdanje

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.392

Daroviti

Daroviti

.111

Slika o sebi unutar porodice

podbacivači

Ostali

.016

Daroviti

Ostali

.670

Daroviti

Daroviti

.286

Dostojnost

podbacivači

Ostali

.051

poverenja

 

Daroviti

Ostali

.554

Činjenica da podbacivači imaju značajno niži skor na skali procene

postignuća (0.87) i od grupe darovitih (1.99) i od grupe ostalih učenika (1.55) govori o tome da su podbacivači manje ponosni na svoje školsko postignuće

i svesni toga da su njihova postignuća manja nego što bi trebalo da budu.

Na subskali akademskog samopouzdanja, postoji statistički značajna razlika između darovitih učenika i darovitih podbacivača (p = .024), ali ne postoji

razlika između podbacivača i grupe ostalih učenika, što se pre može protumačiti visokim samopouzdanjem darovitih učenika usled njihove samoaktualizacije u školskom kontekstu, nego sniženim i ispodprosečnim samopouzdanjem darovitih podbacivača. Podbacivači čak imaju nešto veće akademsko samopouzdanje

u odnosu na prosečne učenike, ali razlika nije statistički značajna. Razlika u

prihvaćenosti unutar porodice nije statistički značajna između grupe podbacivača i darovitih, ali jeste između podbacivača i ostalih učenika (p = .016), što nam ne

daje puno povoda za utvrđivanje razlika na ovoj dimenziji između grupa. Daroviti podbacivači i daroviti učenici se osećaju podjednako prihvaćeno i voljeno unutar svojih porodica, imaju poverenja u nju, smatraju da se porodica zadovoljavajuće odnosi prema njima i osećaju da je porodica ponosna na njih.

Vitomir Jovanović, Pregrad Teovanović, Tatjana Mentus i Milina Petrović

273

Samoprocena inteligencije. Samoprocena inteligencije na celokupnom uzorku pokazuje povezanost sa objektivno merenom inteligencijom (r = -.33, p < .01; negativna korelacija govori o pozitivnoj vezi između fenomena pošto je skala samoprocene inteligencije invertovana) i akademskom samopercepcijom (r = .39, p < .01). Pored toga, postoje statistički značajne razlike u samoproceni inteligencije (p = .001) između grupe darovitih (1.83) i grupe ostalih učenika (2.47). Daroviti podbacivači (2.13) se na ovoj dimenziji ne razlikuju značajno od darovitih učenika (p = .495) .

Rezultati kanoničke diskriminacione analize. Kanonička diskriminaciona analiza je primenjena sa ciljem da se utvrdi pomoću kojih konstrukata se najbolje može izvršiti razlikovanje između darovitih učenika i darovitih podbacivača. Kako je primena Boksovog testa pokazala da matrice kovarijansi nisu homogene (M = 192.54, p = .003), diskriminativna kanonička analiza je sprovedena na odvojenim matricama kovarijansi za svaku podgrupu (separate group).

= 62.938; p = .000)

diskriminativna funkcija (čija je svojstvena vrednost .967, a koja objašnjava celokupnu varijansu). Koeficijent kanoničke korelacije (0.70) i uspešnost klasifikacije (91.6%) ukazuju na kvalitet funkcije koja je najviše zasićena varijablama samoprocene sposobnosti i postignuća, akademskog self koncepta, vrednovanja školskih ciljeva, stavova prema nastavnicima i motivacije (tabela 2). Položaj na centroidu ukazuje da daroviti podbacivači (–1.665), za razliku od darovitih (0.570), imaju značajno niže skorove na pomenutim dimenzijama.

Izdvojila se jedna statistički značajna (λ = .508; χ 2

(14)

Tabela 6. Matrice sklopa i strukture diskriminativne kanoničke funkcije (zelenim su označene subskale Voovog instrumenta, a plavim subskale instrumenta SAAR-S)

 

Standardizovani

Strukturni

koeficijenti

koeficijenti

Akademska samopercepcija

.167

.535

Stavovi prema nastavnicima

.451

.333

Stavovi prema školi

-.417

.015

Procena ciljeva

.246

.348

Motivacija i samoregulacija

.052

.498

Samoprocena sposobnosti

.539

.626

Procena postignuća

.481

.742

Akademsko samopouzdanje

.068

.264

Istopolni odnosi

-.076

-.017

Međupolni odnosi

.018

.082

Porodični odnosi

-.075