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Ryzhov B. N., Mashkova L. A., Stolyarova G. I. Dynamics of motivational indicators in high school

B.N. Ryzhov - Sistem psychology




Journal_eng » Journal 22 : B. N. Ryzhov, B. N. Ryzhov, G. I. Stolyarova, DYNAMICS OF MOTIVATIONAL INDICATORS IN HIGH SCHOOL
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B. N. Ryzhov, 

MCU, Moscow, 

L. A. Mashkova, 

MSU, Moscow, 

G. I. Stolyarova, 

lyceum № 1533, Moscow 


The article is devoted to a longitudinal study of senior adolescents’ motivation in the initial and final periods of their study in high school. Being based on the system profile motivation test (SPM) the study has shown the existence of a motivational indicators trend in high school students expressed in an anthropocentric motivation at the final stage of their schooling with the domination of cognitive motivation and the motivation of protection of «Self» and «Self-preservation». These trends are observed against the background of the reduction in the sociocentric types of motivation — an altruism, morality and self-realization. 

Keywords: system psychology; system motivation profile; system periodization of the development; senior adolescence; early youth; anthropocentric motivation; sociocentric motivation; self-actualization; moral reasoning; cognitive motivation; protection of «Self»; self-preservation. 




The evolution of motivational sphere in adolescence and youth age has traditionally attracted the attention of experts in the field of developmental and educational psychology. In the classical, time-proved works by L. S. Vygotsky [1] and L. I. Bozhovich [2] the transition from senior adolescence to youth is connected with the reduction of many earlier interests and the formation of the new motivation structure which from that moment on starts to reflect the adolescent’s world outlook to an increasingly greater degree. Over a comparatively short period of time the correlation of motives acquires a hierarchical character forming the core of a young person’s personality. 

There exists copious literature devoted to the description of motivational sphere of early adolescence and major motivational tendencies of this period [3; 5; 6]. Nevertheless, for a number of reasons we recur  over and over again — to the issue which appears to have been quite thoroughly studied. This is primarily concerned with the imperfection of motivation theories on which the major part of the conducted research is basedA considerable amount of these theories present highly speculative conceptions that do not provide a strict scientific basis; the inevitable consequence of this is the excessive diversity of methodological toolbox impeding the collation of data obtained by different researchers. 

No less important is the fact that the formation of motivational sphere during the transition from senior adolescence to youth is subject not only to the age factor, but also bears traces of a number of extraneous circumstances, predominantly historical ones, creating for the most part a unique situation of development for every new generation. 

With this in view, the aim of the present work has become a longitudinal study of the system motivation profile of Moscow high school students carried out over the period of 2011–2014. 


Research Methodology 


The longitudinal study of the dynamics of motivation sphere in high school was carried out over the period of 2011–2014 on the basis of Moscow Lyceum of Informational Technologies № 15333. The research included two stages, and in each of them the motivation profile of the surveyed students was evaluated according to a unified pattern. 123 adolescents, all of them eighth formers, 49 girls and 74 boys, were surveyed during the first stage (2011). In the second survey (2014) the same students who had reached the eleventh form took part (by that time the surveyed group had diminished to 106 persons). As a toolkit we used the test of system profile motivation (SPM) [8: p. 41–43] based on staged, step-by-step ranging, by a surveyed person, of 32 values which are correlated with 8 types of motivation singled out in the systems psychology. Based on tests’ results obtained during the first and the second survey individual motivation profiles for each adolescent were built. 


Research Results 


In Figure 1 we can see the surveyed group averaged motivation profiles of students obtained during the first and the second survey. As it can be seen from this figure, in the graduating class the indicators shifted towards anthropocentric motivation while motivation profiles in the first and second stages of the longitudinal study maintained a great degree of semblance. The key tendency of change in motivation indicators of students during their study in high school consisted in the relative increase of indices of cognitive motivation, as well as motivations of protection of «Self» and self-preservation occurring against the background of decrease of sociocentric  traditionally regarded as «supreme»  types of motivation, videlicet, altruism, morality and self-realization.  


Figure 1. Dynamics of Total Group Indicators of Motivational Profile in the Longitudinal Study 

Key to notations: 

Solid line  eleventh formers, 

Dotted line  eighth formers, 

Thin dashed line  the common psychological neutral point – the average meaning of motivation indices. 


It should also be taken into account that for the major part of these indicators (excluding the motivation of self-actualization) the differences in data obtained in 8th and 11th forms proved statistically significant (t-criteria, p < 0.01).  

The differences of indicators conditioned by gender of the surveyed students were revealed in relatively greater intensity of anthropocentric motivation among young men (see Fig. 2) while girls at the same time demonstrated a greater degree of motivation of self-preservation. Among less significant tendencies it is necessary to point out the corresponding dynamics of motivation indicators among young men and girls on such polar scales as cognition — altruism and vitality — morality. Thus, for example, higher indices of cognitive motivation among young men corresponded to the similarly high indices of motivation of altruism among girls, whereas a greater intensity of motivation of vitality among young men echoed greater degree of motivation of morality among girls. However, in all cases sex differences of motivation indicators remained at the level of a tendency, not reaching statistically significant level.  


Figure 2. Averaged Indicators of Motivational Profile of Girls and Young Men in the Final Stage of Surveying 

Key to notations: 

Solid line  eleventh formers (girls), 

Dotted line  eleventh formers (young men), 

Thin dashed line  the common psychological neutral point  the average meaning of motivation indices. 


At first sight the data obtained contradict the idea of quick socialization of a person in the period of adolescence and early youth which radically breaks former stereotypes. Nevertheless, the analysis of the developmental situation of a present-day school student renders an explanation for the revealed motivation tendencies. From the point of view of systems psychology the achievement of personhood and the development of a teenager’s personality constitute the main substance of the age period under consideration and act as its psychological dominant [7: p. 171–172]. It is exactly with this that we connect, in the graduating class, a significant increase of the index of cognitive motivation viewed as a tendency towards the growing number of elements of the system of personality. In accordance with the system periodization of development, the period of youth embraces the age 13 to 24 [7: p. 180–182]. Thus, the age of students of graduating classes (which on average comprises 17 years) comes very close to the median time of the youth period, i.e. to the moment when its motivational features are manifested in the most salient way. The objective revelation of these features becomes the transition of cognitive motivation index across the common psychological neutral point when it acquires the status of the dominating type of motivation (see Fig. 1).  

Another dominating type of motivation is reproduction motivation whose role in the motivational profile of a person is incessantly increasing in the epoch of youth reaching its peak indicators in the subsequent epoch of juvenility (age 25–36). Relative remoteness of this epoch determines a smoothed tendency towards the growth of reproduction motivation. Against this background, the peak of reproduction motivation among girls occurs earlier than among youths, and this is exactly what the aforementioned sex differences of the intensity of this type of motivation are related to. The need for self-esteem, as well as independence and liberty, expressed in the young age become the principal factors determining the increase of motivation of self-preservation and motivation of protection of «Self», which from the viewpoint of systems psychology manifests a tendency to preserve the informational structure of personality.  

If the dynamics of the types of motivation with a tendency to increase is predominately conditioned by the age-specific situation of an adolescence development, the negative dynamics of other types of motivation to a considerably greater degree reflects the peculiarity of the historical epoch and morality of modern society. This situation can be most clearly observed in the dynamics of morality motivation which, from the point of view of systems psychology, displays a tendency to preserve the informational structure of society. The depressive level of morality motivation has been characteristic of the majority of age groups practically over the entire post-Soviet period of the development of Russian society. In these conditions the above mentioned youth-related pursuit of liberty and independence naturally leads many representatives of young generation to distancing from public institutes, to demonstrative individualism and detached attitude to social values. 

A similar situation is observed with regard to motivation of altruism. By the moment of graduation new realia supersede the need for group belonging characteristic of a teenager and determining high indices of motivation of altruism of eight-formers. A young person planning to enter a prestigious institution of higher education (which was true of the absolute majority of surveyed students, the graduates of a prestigious Moscow lyceum) is often faced with the necessity to sharply restrict communication with his or her coevals. It particularly concerns direct, ‘real’ communication associated with bright emotional experiences, whose alternative, communication via social networks, can be found more and more often. As a result, the restraint of communication and the corresponding weakening of emotional contacts with coevals determine the decrease of altruism indices in the motivational profile of a senior high school student. 

Finally, one more type of motivation with negative dynamics becomes the motivation of self-realization. As A. Maslow, in his time, pointed out [4], on the whole the depressive level of this kind of motivation is the norm for the majority of people. However, taking into consideration that one of the most important objectives of lyceum education is the overall development of the creative potential of adolescents, the indices of self-realization motivation of lyceum students in 8th grade were on a sufficiently high level. However, in the final stage of schooling the hierarchy of educational priorities is changing essentially. Now a school-leaver is no longer faced with the former task of maximal opening of his or her abilities and occupying a deserving place in a group thanks to a successful fulfillment of various creative projects and tasks. Instead, he or she starts to follow an ‘adult’ goal of accumulating knowledge and intensive training with a purpose of entering an institution of higher education. The change of value priorities in the course of which the interests of self-development give way to more pragmatic values, leads to the depression of the index of self-actualization motivation. 




Thus, the conducted research allows adding a number of up-to-date elaborations to our basic understanding of specific features pertaining to the motivational sphere of the period of early youth resulting from traditions of the national school of developmental psychology. It is primarily related to the absence of distinct differences in the motivation profile outline in the initial and final stages of studying in high school. As the research has demonstrated, the key motivation tendency of this period became the indicators trend towards anthropocentric types of motivation. It is manifested in the shift of priorities to cognition motivation, as well as self-preservation motivation and protection of «Self» — against the background of insignificant growth of indices of reproduction motivation. At the same time there exists a tendency towards decrease of sociocentric types of motivation, i.e. altruism, morality and self-actualization. 




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