Study finds psychological intervention helps students inside and outside of statistics class

August 10, 2017

Study finds psychological intervention helps students inside and outside of statistics class

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DSC researchers Ellen Peters, Brittany Shoots-ReinhardMary Kate Tompkins, Martin Tusler, and colleagues published a new study examining the effects of a psychological intervention implemented to help students cope and learn more in a statistics course. In a 9-week longitudinal study, undergraduate students, all taking a psychology statistics course, were randomly assigned to a control condition or a values-affirmation manipulation intended to improve numeracy.

Results indicated that the numeracy intervention (statistics-course enrollment combined with values affirmation) enhanced objective numeracy, subjective numeracy, and two decision-related outcomes (financial literacy and health-related behaviors) by the final week in the course. It also showed positive indirect-only effects on financial outcomes and a series of STEM-related outcomes (course grades, intentions to take more math-intensive courses, later math-intensive courses taken based on academic transcripts).

Visit EurekAlert! for the study press release.

Other co-authors affiliated or formerly affilitated with Ohio State's Department of Psychology were Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, Dan Schley, Louise Meilleur, Aleksander Sinayev, Laura Wagner, and Jennifer Crocker.

Reference: Peters, E., Shoots-Reinhard, B., Tompkins, M. K., Schley, D., Meilleur, L., Sinayev, A., et al. (2017) Improving numeracy through values affirmation enhances decision and STEM outcomes. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180674. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180674