Dr. Curtis Phills | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Psychology
White supremacy rallies, like the one at the University of North Florida in 2017, are still common on college campuses which raises questions about how they influence the self-esteem and academic motivation of minority students. When it comes to minority students’ internal representations of themselves vs. a “typical” college student, feelings of alienation may arise when it comes to their sense of belonging on the college campus. The present research has two phases and was designed to investigate how internal mental representations of the self are related to academic motivation. After measuring Phase 1 participants’ self-esteem, they will generate images representing their internal representation of themselves and the typical college student. Phase 2 participants will rate how much these images look like a typical college student, as well as other demographic factors. We predict that White students will generate typical college student images that are more White looking and that this will predict increased academic motivation. We also predict that the self-images of participants with high self-esteem will be rated as more academic looking than the self-images of participants with low self-esteem. This research has implications for understanding why students of all backgrounds persist or do not persist in college and STEM fields.
Hello! My name is Celina Johnson and I am working with Dr. Phills on Internal Mental Representations of the Self and the Typical College Student in Regards to Race, Academic Motivation, and Self-Esteem. I want to start by asking a question…
What image initially comes to mind when you think about a typical college student?
Because minority students, such as African American and Latino or Latina, are historically underrepresented when it comes to higher education, if I asked you, “what does a typical college student look like?” Most likely, a minority student would not initially come to mind.
As a result of this underrepresentation, minority students may feel a sense of alienation on college campuses. They may ask themselves “do I belong here?” “Am I good enough?” These feelings, along with the racial stigma they may experience while pursuing their majors can lead to students developing a lack of academic motivation. For example, previous research has found that minority STEM major students are more likely to stop pursuing this major before graduating, possibly due to their negative experiences in college.
The present research was designed to investigate how internal mental representations of the self are related to academic motivation. We will investigate this by using reverse correlation; so, a little bit about reverse correlation… [Explain reverse correlation and prototypical images]
After completing a measure of self-esteem, an initial sample of participants will generate images using the reverse correlation paradigm that represent their internal mental representations of the self and typical college students. A second sample of participants will then rate those images on a number of relevant dimensions including positivity, race, gender, academic traits, and how much they look like a typical college student. For our hypothesis, we predict that greater similarity between self-images and images of typical college students, will be related to increased academic motivation. we also predict that self-images rated more White looking will be related to increased academic motivation. We then predict that participants with greater similarity between their self and typical college student images, will generate images of typical college students that look more White. We lastly predict that the self-images of participants with high self-esteem will be rated as looking more academic than the self-images of participants with low self-esteem.
Now let me explain in a little more detail about the reverse correlation method that we will be using…
[Explain what’s happening in each phase but make reference to the pictures that are on the poster]
• Explain how the base face was created
• Explain that each trial presents the base face + original pattern of noise and then the base face + inverted pattern of noise. Over 125 different pairs!]
• This research has implications for understanding why students of all backgrounds persist or do not persist in college and STEM fields.
[Bring back up the point about STEM fields mentioned in the introduction]
• It also speaks to the importance of interventions designed to increase belonging among students from traditionally underrepresented groups.
[Mention the Department of Diversity Initiatives and their mission statement]
Mission Statement: In their mission statement it is stated that through cultural and gender enriching programs and services, DDI serves as a resource for students to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion.
Some of their values are to promote:
Diversity by honoring the uniqueness of individual identities
Inclusion by cultivating a welcoming and supportive environment
Community by establishing a sense of belonging for ALL
This program is among many that can provide effective interventions to increase feelings of belonging and academic motivation among minority students.
• May help students to identify implicit biases they may have towards other racial groups and towards their own racial group
This will conclude my presentation; I hope you got an interesting point from it. Have a nice day!