Investigation Of Students Personality And Attitude Psychology Essay

2690 words (11 pages) Essay in Psychology

5/12/16 Psychology Reference this

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Personality has been identified as being an important contributing factor in development of students’ attitude towards Chemistry. The purpose of current study is to examine the influence of Personality on students’ attitude towards Chemistry. The study also determine the effect of Age, Gender, Family Type, Class, School Sector, Father Qualification, Mother Qualification, Choice Of Course on students’ personality and affective characteristics of attitude. Very few researches have dealt with this dimension of education in Pakistan. The population of the study comprised of 780 Secondary school male and female students. Instruments used for data collection was developed by the researcher reliability was first examined by pilot testing. Data was analyzed by using Correlation, t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). It w concluded from the study that the two factors are interrelated

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Introduction

Personality is a set of consistent and unique pattern of thoughts, feelings and behavior that makes people different from each other .Personality means how people understand themselves and their surroundings. Personality not only influence how respond in our environment; also predict to act in certain manner. (Wagner,2008).

Pervin (1996) describes personality as a complex organization of cognitions, affects, and behaviors that gives direction and pattern to the person’s life.

Different Approaches to Personality

The Behavioral Approach

Skinner’s view is often termed radical behaviorism because of his insistence on referring to environmental events in considering any behavior. Personality relies only on observed behavior and contingencies of reinforcement. He also believes that internal events such as thoughts or emotions are results of external events, not causes of them.

The central focus of Behavioral approach, elaborated by Bandura and others, is on the process of modeling, the observation of some other person’s actions and the learning from those actions., without the observer necessarily either performing the action or being rewarded for it (Bandura, 1977a). Behavioral approach sees a person’s personality as developing through a lifetime interaction between the person and his or her environment, each of which influences the other (Bandura, 1974, 1978). It offers a flexible framework for combining self and situation variables, for adding cognitive features

The Humanistic Approach

The humanistic approach is usually attributed to the independent approaches of two theorists, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Both emphasize concepts of the self and self-development, but they differ somewhat in how these concepts are defined and used.

Maslow saw weak, innate, positive tendencies that must be nurtured (Maslow, 1968, 1970, 1971). Survival motives are the most powerful and most immediate motives. Maslow proposed his well-known hierarchy of needs to suggest how more exclusively human needs might appear after more basic needs were satisfied. According to Maslow, all of the needs in the hierarchy are innate to humans, but those higher in the hierarchy are weaker; they only direct action when all earlier needs have been satisfied.

Roggers’s view is concerned with the development of self, but he approaches the concept of self differently than Maslow did (Suls, 1982). Roger’s personality theory is a person-centered theory in several ways (Holdstock & Rogers, 1977). Roger’s view is person-centered in emphasizing self-actualization. According to Roggers, self-actualizing is to strive toward equivalence between one’s concept of self and one’s experience. Roger’s theory is thus a mixture of emotional and cognitive elements.

The Trait Approach to Personality study

One of the most outstanding trait psychologists was Gordon Allport. A Psychological Interpretation launched the psychology of personality as a field and discipline. In his classic work and many later contributions, he made a convincing case that a distinctive field was needed, to understand the person as a coherent, consistent whole individual. His view of personality was broad and integrative. Reacting against the tendency of researchers to study isolated part processes, such as learning and memory, in ways that failed to take account of individual differences, he wanted to pursue two goals. One was to understand the differences between people in personality; the other was to see how the different characteristics that exist within an individual interact and function together in an integrated way. Allport (1937), in his theory explains that traits have a very real existence: they are the ultimate realities of psychological organization.

Allport, implied that traits are relatively general and enduring: they unite many responses to diverse stimuli, producing fairly broad consistencies in behavior. Allport was convinced that some people have dispositions that influence most aspects of their behavior. He called these highly generalized dispositions cardinal traits. For example, if a person’s whole life seems to be organized around goal achievement and the attainment of excellence, then achievement might be his or her cardinal trait. Less pervasive but still quite generalized dispositions are central traits, and Allport thought that many people are broadly influenced by central traits. Finally, more specific, narrow traits are called secondary dispositions or “attitudes”. Allport believed that one’s pattern of dispositions or “personality structure” determines one’s behavior. No two people are completely alike, and hence no two people respond identically to the same event. Each person’s behavior is determined by a particular trait structure.

Cattell (1950) distinguished between common traits, which are possessed by all people, and unique traits, which occur only in a particular person and cannot be found in another in exactly the same form. Eysenck (1961, 1991) has extended the search for personality dimension to the area of abnormal behavior, studying such traits as neuroticism-emotional stability. He also investigated introversion-extroversion as a dimensional trait.

Big Five Personality Trait

The five-factor model of personality is an organization of personality traits in terms of five basic dimensions. A widely used personality model, McCrae and Costa’s NEO Five Factor Model, or “Big Five Model” (1990), consists of the following personality components:

Fig: The ‘Big Five’ Factors Personality Model

Extraversion refers to the tendency to prefer social interaction. Extraverted people are socially active, fun-loving, and tend to take group leadership positions. (McCrae & Costa, 1990). Extraverts tend to be talkative, social, gregarious, and assertive (Barrick et al., 2001), and experience positive effects such as energy, zeal, and excitement (Hogan & Ones, 1997). The tendency to prefer social interaction. Extroverted people are socially active, fun loving, and tend to take group leadership positions (McCrae & Costa 1990).

According to McCrae and Costa (1990), “Neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative feelings such as depression and anxiety. It includes the tendency to be temperamental and feel vulnerable. Thus, a high level of neuroticism likely leads to emotional instability and frustration.”

Neuroticism represents the tendency to exhibit poor emotional adjustment and experience negative effects such as anxiety, insecurity, and hostility (Hogan & Ones, 1997). Neurotic individuals are more susceptible to psychological distress and generally cope more poorly with distress than others (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

According to McCrae and Costa (1990), “Openness to experience entails preference and acceptance of new ideas and experiences. It reflects creativity, imagination, and liberalism.” Openness is the disposition to be imaginative, unconventional, and autonomous (Hogan & Ones, 1997). Individuals with great Openness to experiences are attentive to and curious about both their inner and outer world (Costa & McCrae, 1992). The tendency to be cooperative, compassionate and good-natured. Agreeable people tend to avoid interpersonal conflict. In contrast, people with low agreeableness are likely competitive, critical suspicious, and impatient (McCrae & Costa 1990). Openness to experience is the tendency toward being imaginative, open to new experiences, and having a broad range of interests (Goldberg, 1992; Mount & Barrick, 2002).

Agreeableness refers to the tendency to be cooperative, compassionate, and good-natured. Agreeable people tend to avoid interpersonal conflict. In contrast, people with low agreeableness are likely competitive, critical, suspicious, and impatient. (McCrae & Costa, 1990). Agreeableness is the tendency to be trusting, compliant, caring, and gentle (Hogan & Ones, 1997). Agreeable people are generally good natured, cooperative, supportive, caring, and concerned for others (Barrick et al., 2001). They generally trust and believe that others are honest and well-intentioned (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

According to McCrae and Costa (1990), “Conscientiousness refers to the tendency to be self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and ambitious. Conscientious people are organized and have self-efficacy and persistence. Those without conscientiousness are easygoing, impulsive, and careless.” The tendency to be self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and ambitious. Conscientious people are organized and have self-efficacy and persistence. Those without conscientiousness are easygoing, impulsive, and careless (McCrae & Costa 1990).

Conscientiousness is comprised of two related facets: achievement and dependability, and Conscientiousness have been found to be the major component of integrity (Hogan & Ones, 1997). Conscientious individuals are likely to be dependable, responsible, rule abiding, and achievement-oriented (Barrick et al., 2001). In addition, Costa and McCrae (1992) claim that the hallmark of Conscientiousness is self-discipline.

Attitude

Attitude is one of the most important concepts in social psychology (Zanna & Rempel, 1988). From a behavioral view, attitude is defined as “mental and neural state of readiness to respond, organized through experience, exerting a directive and/or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related” (Allport, 1935). In other words, attitudes are considered as tendencies or predispositions to respond to certain stimuli, and the traditional tripartite model comprises three major types of responses: cognitive, affective, and behavioral (Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960).

Attitude can be defined as the feelings that a person has about an object, based on his or her knowledge and belief about that object (Kind et al., 2007). This definition is made based on the model that attitudes include the three components of cognition, affect, and behavior (Bagozzi & Burnkrant, 1979; McGuire, 1985; Rajecki, 1990). Social psychologists have also long viewed attitudes as having three components:

Fig2.3: Conceptual Framework for Attitude

The cognitive component is the a set of beliefs about the attributes of the attitudes. The Behavioral component pertains to the way people act toward the object (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). The Affective component includes feelings about object i.e., the thoughts and emotions one has toward an attitude object such as chemistry lessons and chemistry subject are referred to as affective point of view. We can say “Affect” pertains to how people feel about the object (both good and bad feelings), as expressed via physiological activity or overt communication.

Affective characteristics are as much important as cognitive variables in influencing learning outcomes, career choices and use of leisure time (Koballa, 1988).Affective characteristics include in this study are:

Fig 2.4: Framework of Affective characteristics of Attitude

Motivation, also referred to as academic engagement, refers to “cognitive, emotional, and behavioral indicators of student investment in and attachment to education” (Tucker, Zayco, and Herman, 2002).

Gredler, Broussard and Garrison (2004) define motivation as “the attribute that moves us to do or not to do something”. Turner (1995) considers motivation to be synonymous with cognitive engagement, which he defines as “voluntary uses of high-level self-regulated learning strategies, such as paying attention, connection, planning, and monitoring”.

According to Gardner and Tamir (1989a) ‘interest’ usually refers to preference to engage in some types of activities rather than others. An interest may be regarded as a highly specific type of attitude: When we are interested in a particular phenomenon or activity, we are favorably inclined to attend to it and give time to it. According to Stipek (2002) Interests increase when students feel competent, so even if students are not initially interested in a subject or activity, they may develop interests as they experience success.

Spielberger (1983) defined anxiety as “The subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with an arousal of the automatic nervous system”. Mussen et al (1974) concluded that: “Anxiety is not a pathological condition is itself but a necessary and normal physiological and mental preparation for danger … anxiety is necessary for the survival of the individual under certain circumstances. Failure to apprehend danger and to prepare for it may have disastrous results”.

According to Hartley (2006) ‘Enjoyment is an emotion. It is about how we feel, not about what we think’. Psychologists have defined enjoyment as an affective state of pleasure.

Students’ attitudes changes across grade levels in terms of “enjoyment of chemistry” constructs. Furthermore, in-depth analysis indicated that there are significant mean differences between Grade 9 and Grade 10 students’ attitudes toward chemistry as a school subject on enjoyment dimensions (Can & Boz, 2012).The attitude literature introduced also studies related to students’ enjoyment of science lessons (Whitfield, 1979; Stables, 1990; Havard, 1996). Actually, enjoyment of chemistry, physics or biology was associated with gender differences in most of the studies. Stables (1990) found that girls have a tendency to biological sciences and males to physical sciencesWhitfield (1979) reported chemistry and physics as the least enjoyable subjects for post-14 English students.

According to (Katerina Salta, 2002) The majority of students recognize that chemistry knowledge is useful to interpret aspects of their everyday life, but only 4% of students express their wish to continue chemistry studies.

Achievement motivation has been defined as the extent to which individuals differ in their need to strive to attain rewards, such as physical satisfaction, praise from others and feelings of personal mastery (McClelland, 1985).

Methods

Participants and Setting

This study was conducted in Pakistan; Stratified Random sampling method is used to select the sample of the study. Participants were 780 students from secondary schools belong to three different sectors (Government, Private, Semi government) from the city of Lahore.

Researcher personally distributed the questionnaire to the respondents of 9th and 10th grade students. The respondents filled the questionnaire in the presence of researcher. Hence 100% data was collected from the respondents. Students were assured that their personal information will be kept confidential. Data was used only for research purpose.

Development and Validation of Instrument

To investigate the purpose of this study, the first step was to develop a valid and reliable instrument for measuring students’ personality trait and attitudes toward chemistry. The researcher constructed a new questionnaire, in order to be more relevant to the conditions in the Pakistani schools. The Likert scale was used in our questionnaire.

All participants completed a 37 statement researcher-developed questionnaire. The Questionnaire includes demographic variables as well as two factors. Six demographic variables are included that elicits respondents’ background information. The statements of the questionnaire are dived as:

Factor

Sub-factor

Total no of items in Questionnaire

Personality

Extraversion

4

Agreeableness

4

Conscientiousness

5

Openness to experience

5

Neuroticism

5

Attitude

Interest

7

Enjoyment

3

Motivation

4

Anxiety

4

Importance

3

Confidence

5

Achievement motivation

4

All participants were asked to rate each item using a five-point scale. For the positive statements the rating of responses is:

5

4

3

2

1

Strongly Agree

Agree

Undecided

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

For the negative statements the rating of responses is:

1

2

3

4

5

Strongly Agree

Agree

Undecided

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

The reliability of the research instrument was 0.84 so, level of difficulty of questionnaire was moderate.

Procedures

The researcher get permission from school authority to conduct the study. The purpose was explained to the teachers as well as the participants’ of the study. There were 780 students who voluntarily who participated in the study. During class times the researcher administered the Questionnaire to consenting students. Before administering the survey, the procedures to complete the Questionnaire were explained to the students. Students’ understanding of the survey was verified and questions about the survey were answered.

Data Analyses

Quantitative analysis was performed with the help of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). Mean and one way ANOVA was applied on the data to investigate questionnaire in terms of personality traits and attitudes toward chemistry.

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