You may want to assign pages 960(starting with the Method section) and 961 (ending at the second paragraph ofthe Results and Discussion section) of the following article:
Elliot, A.J., & Thrash, T. M. (2004). The intergenerational transmission of fear offailure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
The authors use a survey design tostudy an interesting topic: whether parents’ fear of failure correlates with parents’ fear offailure. In addition, the article is easy for your students to obtain (studentswho buy the book can get it by using the Infotrac® subscription that comeswith Research design explained), and theshort, two-page section we recommend assigning is relatively easy for studentsto read (to make it even easier to read, give students Table 1).
Helping Students Understand the Article
Tips, Comments, and Problem Areas
Third paragraph (Response tendencies)
Impression management: trying to make others believe you are better than you are by not fully disclosing your weaknesses and bad deeds.
Self-deceptive enhancement: fooling yourself into thinking you are better than you are by exaggerating your strengths.
Reverse scoring: As you read on the bottom of page 188, researchers may balance out the effects of response sets by rewording the same question. For example, suppose that rather than just asking one question about a person’s tendency to try to make a good impression (e.g., having participants respond to “I always obey laws”), we have them respond to two questions, with one question being a rewording of the first: “I always obey laws” and “I never obey laws”). Rewording questions can cause problems when it comes to combining responses to the questions to a single score. If a participant rated the “I always obey laws” statement a “7” (very true) and the “I never obey laws” a “1” (not true), that participant’s core on impression management should not be “8” (7 + 1), but 14. Similarly, a participant who rated the “I always obey laws” a “1” (not true) and “I never obey laws a “7” (very true) should not get should not get an “8” (1 + 7), but a “2” (1 + 1). To solve the problem, we would reverse score the second question. That is, if a person responded “7,” that would be scored as a “1”; if a person responded “7,” that would be scored as a “1”; if a person responded “6,” that would be scored as a “2”; if a person responded “5,” that would be scored as a “3”; if a person responded “4,” that would be scored as a “4”; if a person responded “3,” that would be scored as a “5”; if a person responded “2,” that would be scored as a “6”; and if a person responded “1,” that would be scored as a “7.”
Results and discussion
Undergraduate men and women had similar scores and the correlations between variables such as undergraduate fear of failure and mother fear of failure were basically the same for men as for women.
Pearson product moment correlations: Pearson rs.
What appears from the table to be correlations of variables with themselves—the“reliabilities” referred to (.64, .63, .56, etc.) in the note—really internal consistencies. For more about internal consistencies, see pages 101-103 of Research design explained.
There should be an asterisk beside the .22 representing the correlation between “mother fear of failure” and undergraduate fear of failure.
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