The Power of Affirmation

Considering questions related to ones core values improves overall performance. By challenging the belief that ones performance is based on ones stereotype, it motivates performance based on core values: family, faith etc. The act of taking a few minutes to connect core values to current tasks has a measurable positive effect on performance. Recent research at the University of Colorado validates this finding.

“In many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, women are out performed by men in test scores, jeopardizing their success in science-oriented courses and careers. The current study tested the effectiveness of a psychological intervention, called values affirmation,in reducing the gender achievement gap in a college-level introductory physics class. In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women’s modal grades from the C to B range. Benefits were strongest for women who tended to endorse the stereotype that men do better than women in physics. A brief psychological intervention may be a promising way to address the gender gap in science performance and learning.”

Full Article:
Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation
Akira Miyake, Lauren E. Kost-Smith, Noah D. Finkelstein, Steven J. Pollock, Geoffrey L. Cohen, Tiffany A. It
Science 330, 1234 (2010);