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Cohen, Geoffrey

Works: 12 works in 12 publications in 1 language and 12 library holdings
Roles: Thesis advisor, Author
Publication Timeline
Publications about Geoffrey Cohen
Publications by Geoffrey Cohen
Most widely held works by Geoffrey Cohen
An experimental test of the effect of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced feedback on just world beliefs, motivation, and performance does social disadvantage matter? by Mathew Kenneth Cor( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The just world beliefs, self-reported commitment to long-term academic goals, time spent studying, and change in performance after receiving norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, and control feedback were compared. Students from two high schools in Northern California serving lower middle and upper middle class populations respectively took a difficult math test and were provided with failure feedback based on either a norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, or non-referenced standard. Participants were offered an opportunity to study before they took a second difficult math test. For socially disadvantaged students (as indicated by mother's highest level of education), norm-referenced feedback resulted in significantly less time studying for the second test. In addition, a significant interaction between level of social disadvantage and type of feedback on change in performance is revealed. In particular, norm-referenced feedback is found to have a significant negative effect on the change in performance of disadvantaged students and a significant positive effect on the change in performance of advantaged students. While feedback type did not significantly affect student just world beliefs, a relationship between just world beliefs and time spent studying that is moderated by level of social disadvantage is revealed. The results add to the literature by generalizing findings from previous research to a different population and to different measures of just world beliefs and motivation suggesting a potential developmental component to the relationship between just world beliefs and motivation. The research also sheds new light on how norm-referenced feedback differentially affects student outcomes depending on level of social disadvantage
Does making a test high stakes for students artificially inflate acheivement gap by race & gender? Evidence from the California High School Exit Exam by Nicole Leigh Arshan( file )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
In a prior study of high school exit exams, my co-authors and I found that socio-economically disadvantaged students -- female, low income, English Language Learners (ELLs) and students of color -- are less likely to pass a high school exit exam than their more socio-economically advantaged peers, even when controlling for prior and concurrent achievement on a similar exam with no individual stakes for students (Reardon, Atteberry, & Arshan, 2011). These findings raise significant concerns about the accuracy of standardized test scores and the role they may play in reproducing societal and educational inequality. In this dissertation I use the same data to more thoroughly explore the achievement gaps on the high stakes California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and low stakes California Standards Test (CST). I posit that the reasons we may observe a CAHSEE/ CST gap fall into three broad categories. The first category consists of statistical artifacts resulting from measurement error and violations of statistical assumptions. The second category of explanations consists of unintended consequences to policy decisions. These decisions may exacerbate achievement differences between groups but do not stem from performance differences between different groups introduced along with the high stakes of the test. If there is no evidence that the CAHSEE/ CST gaps are driven by true differences in ability -- either due to differences in student knowledge (including test prep) or differences in rigor of content or preparation--then these gaps are most likely the direct result of the "high stakes" nature of the exam. I use student level administrative data from three large California districts to examine these possibilities. I demonstrate that these measures are not driven by school segregation or measurement error using school fixed effects, multiple measures of ability, test scores shrunken to the group mean and instrumental variables. I find that women overperform on the English Language Arts (ELA) exam and underperform on the mathematics exam. Other groups underperform on both exams. Breaking down the exams by the content substrands, I find that the writing sample, which is included in the high stakes CAHSEE, but not the low stakes CST, drives the female overperformance on the ELA section. I conclude that the patterns of these gaps, including dramatic differences by school attended, are consistent with a stereotype threat explanation. In an era of increasing accountability for students, these performance differences on meaningful tests need to be considered both by policymakers as a possible negative unintended consequence to student level accountability and by educators as an impediment to the current of future success of their students
Coping with challenges in middle school the role of implicit theories of emotion by Carissa Romero( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The ability to cope with challenges predicts functioning across a wide range of domains. One factor that has been shown to predict functioning is people's implicit theories -- their beliefs about the malleability of personal attributes. The current research presents four studies that examine implicit theories of emotion during the challenging middle school period. Studies 1 and 2 compared the relationship between emotion theories and emotional functioning with the relationship between intelligence theories and academic functioning in a sample of 115 middle schoolers. Consistent with past research, Study 1 found that intelligence theories predicted academic functioning during the challenging transition year in middle school. Sixth graders with an incremental theory of intelligence earned higher grades than students with an entity theory. Extending past research, Study 1 found that emotion theories predicted emotional functioning. Sixth graders with an incremental theory of emotion reported fewer depressive symptoms and greater well-being. Further, Study 1 found that intelligence theories and emotion theories predict functioning through similar processes. Students with an incremental theory of intelligence valued effort more, and their effort beliefs mediated the relationship between an incremental theory and higher grades. Similarly, students with an incremental theory of emotion used more adaptive emotion regulation strategies, specifically reappraisal, and reappraisal mediated the relationship between an incremental theory of emotion and both fewer depressive symptoms and greater well-being. Study 2 followed the students from Study 1 through the end of the middle school period and found that implicit theories predicted students' trajectories throughout middle school. Students with an incremental theory of intelligence in sixth grade were more likely to move to advanced math courses over time. Similarly, students who began sixth grade with lower well-being were more likely to feel better over time if they reported having an incremental theory of emotion in sixth grade. Since Studies 1 and 2 were the first studies to explore emotion theories in middle school students, Study 3 examined emotion theories in a larger, more heterogeneous sample. In a sample of 1,353 sixth through eighth graders, an incremental theory of emotion predicted more reappraisal use, less misery, and greater well-being. Further, reappraisal mediated the relationship between emotion theories and emotional outcomes. Finally, Study 4 taught students an incremental theory of emotion and reappraisal use through a brief, online intervention. Students who were randomly assigned to the treatment condition reported more incremental theories of emotion and greater use of reappraisal several weeks after the intervention. If long-term follow up of these students shows a positive and lasting impact on emotional outcomes, an emotion theory intervention can be a powerful tool to set students on positive emotional trajectories
The ancient workings at Gakgale by Geoffrey Cohen( Article )
1 edition published in 1977 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Reducing stereotype threat in classrooms : a review of social-psychological intervention studies on improving the achievement of Black students by Joshua Aronson( Book )
1 edition published in 2009 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The report identifies teacher-focused classroom-level strategies (based on solid research evidence) intended to reduce stereotype threat and improve the academic performance of underachieving minority students. The information is useful for educators seeking strategies to reduce the achievement gap
The humanizing power of shared humor applications to conflict and stigma reduction by Yula Paluy( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
I argue that the presence of humor in others signals their humanness. Humor conveys information about who is like us, and acts to affiliate those who share our humor, and to distance those who are seen to lack a sense of humor. Thus, humor serves important social functions, and humor experienced psychologically with others (i.e. shared humor) has different consequences than humor experienced alone. In Chapter 1, I examine the effects of shared humor on interpersonal and intergroup conflict using a combination of web-based surveys, lab studies, and mobile technology-based experiments in the real world, in a variety of national and international contexts. Across 8 studies, I demonstrate that (a) participants ascribe a fuller capacity for humor to ingroup members compared to outgroup members across political, racial, and national divides, and (b) providing participants with evidence of shared humor with adversarial others reduces perceptions of conflict, attributions of bias, support for militarism, while increasing relationship satisfaction, trust, support for cooperation, and prosociality. In Chapter 2, I examine the humanizing effects of shared humor in two domains of stigma. Using vignette methodology, I demonstrate that perceiving a mentally ill person as having the capacity to share humor reduces the stigma of mental illness and increases empathy toward him. Using real-world charitable donations, I demonstrate that humor shared between participants and homeless people increases generosity above and beyond validated appeals for charity. Taken together, the results demonstrate that evidence of humor in adversarial and stigmatized others serves to strongly signal their humanity and thus promote attitudes and behaviors commonly afforded to those we consider to be fully human
Biased expectations in times of predicament essays on help-seeking and indecision by Daniel A Newark( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation examines the accuracy of behavioral and attitudinal expectations in times of predicament. The first two chapters use experimental research methods to study people's predictions when they are in need of tangible favors. Specifically, chapter one explores help-seekers' expectations of receiving assistance from someone who has refused to provide aid in the past. Based on findings from four social-psychological studies, this chapter argues that help-seekers underestimate the likelihood of receiving help in this situation. This underestimation is driven by help-seekers' failure to appreciate the discomfort of refusing to provide help not only once, but twice, as well as their assumption that a person who has refused to help once is invariably an unhelpful person. Chapter two investigates the quality of help that help-seekers' expect, conditional on receiving help. Four additional studies find that help-seekers underestimate the effort that helpers put into their assistance. Once again, the psychological mechanism driving this bias appears to be help-seekers' failure to appreciate helpers' discomfort. The final chapter of this dissertation is a conceptual work examining people's expectations while struggling in a state of indecision. What behaviors and functions do people expect while distressed by a decision they do not know how to make? This chapter argues that decision-makers are unduly pessimistic about indecision, seeing it primarily as a disquieting pathology of choice. This is due, in part, to the strength of cultural and cognitive norms surrounding decision-making and results in decision-makers failing to see indecision's potential as an arena for identity formation
Scaled-up social psychology intervening wisely and broadly in education by David Paunesku( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Over the last several decades, research has examined how students' beliefs about school and about their own abilities affect their academic goals, motivation, and achievement (for reviews see, Dweck, Walton, & Cohen, 2011; Farrington et al., 2012). It has also investigated how these beliefs and associated patterns of behavior can be influenced through interaction with others (Gunderson et al., 2013; Linnenbrink, 2005; Mueller & Dweck, 1998; Turner et al., 2002) and through precise, psychological interventions (J. Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002; Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007; Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, & Master, 2006; Good, Aronson, & Inzlicht, 2003; Walton & Cohen, 2007, 2011; Wilson & Linville, 1982, 1985; Yeager & Walton, 2011). This research has focused on the educational context, but it has provided rich, generalizable insights. It has revealed a complex cross-section of the ways in which individuals' worries and motivations interact with their social environments to affect their behavior and major life outcomes. The education context is in many ways ideal for the study of psychology. There are unambiguous, regularly-collected, socially meaningful outcomes; there are complex, but consistently structured relationships; and there is diversity, yet commonality, in people's aspirations and concerns. The schoolhouse has always been a rich source of data for psychologists (Berliner, 2006; Davidson & Benjamin, 1987). However, as computers increasingly saturate education, the schoolhouse and its contemporary equivalents provide unprecedented opportunities for psychological researchers: Opportunities to make a measurable and socially meaningful impact on the lives of students and teachers; opportunities to display to society at large the benefits of a careful, psychologically-wise approach to solving social problems; and opportunities to learn about psychological theory by pushing its predictions to the limit in new contexts and at new scales of operation. This dissertation investigates these opportunities from several different perspectives. Chapter 1 focuses on education as a context for psychological research: I elaborate on the factors that make education a rich context for psychological research, and I describe how researchers have used this context to apply and to further basic psychological theory. In Chapter 2, I focus on the the benefits, challenges, and methods of large-scale research. Chapters 3-5 each present data from a different, large-scale efficacy study. Chapter 3 presents a study of the robustness and generalizability of two social psychological interventions across a sample of over 1500 students from 13 socio- demographically heterogeneous schools. Chapter 4 describes the process of selecting and customizing psychological interventions to address psychological obstacles to success in community college math. Chapter 5 tests the efficacy of psychologically wise encouragement in a sample of over 250,000 online learners. In Chapter 6, I explore how the local context influences students' responses to a growth mindset intervention and the relationship between individual students' mindsets and achievement. Finally, Chapter 7 reviews what we have learned about psychology through recent large-scale studies in education; it considers what new areas deserve exploration; it provides loose estimates for the economic impacts of psychological interventions in schools; and it discusses psychological interventions as a vehicle for large-scale social change
Performance and health in surgical residency exploring the roles of gender, stereotype threat, and values affirmation by Arghavan Salles( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Women who pursue surgical training do so despite the stereotype that men are better surgeons than women. Thus, in addition to the typical difficulties encountered during residency, women in surgical training have the burden of proving that they are as capable as men. In this context, women may experience stereotype threat, a phenomenon thta occurs when people fear being seen in light of a negative stereotype about a group to which they belong. Stereotype threat has been shown to undermine minority learners' performance in other settings. This study assessed whether stereotype threat affected women in surgical training with regard to their performance and psychological health. I additionally tested a social-psychological intervention known as values affirmation, which has been shown to reduce the effects stereotype threat in other populations, on surgical residents. I measured residents' performance (using professional and laboratory performance measures) and psychological health. Greater levels of stereotype threat were associated with poorer psychological health for women, but they were not associated with poorer performance. While omnibus tests of values affirmation were not significant, exploratory internal analyses tentatively suggested that values affirmation benefited examination and clinical performance for women and working memory for both men and women. This is the first study of stereotype threat in a medical context and is the first attempt to understand the effects of both stereotype threat and affirmation on psychological health and performance in this setting. I discuss the implications of these findings as they relate to the retention of women in surgical training and the performance of surgical residents, i.e., delivery of patient care
Do implicit theories of happiness and well-being predict adaptive responses to stress? by Alexandra Russell( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
An accumulating body of research shows that stress negatively impacts individuals' mental and physical health, heightening depression and anxiety (e.g., Sapolosky, 1994; Willner, 1997); vulnerability to viral infections (e.g., Slavich & Cole, 2013); and inflammation, unfavorable gene expression, and impaired immune functioning (e.g., Spools, 1994; Slavich & Cole, 2013). Research suggests that coping strategies are an important predictor of the effect of stressors on an individual (e.g., Dumont & Provost, 1998; Folkman & Lazarus, 1985; Seiffge-Krenke, 2000). This dissertation investigates whether differences in implicit theories of well-being (or beliefs that well-being is malleable or fixed) are related to the coping strategies that individuals endorse. Specifically, it was hypothesized that holding a malleable theory of psychological well-being would lead people to endorse and engage in more adaptive coping behaviors in the face of stress. It was also hypothesized that believing that well-being is malleable would make people more interested in learning about and improving their well-being and happiness. The present research investigated these hypotheses in a series of three studies. Study 1 investigated whether those with a more malleable conception of well-being would be more likely to endorse adaptive responses to stressful scenarios. Building on Study 1, Study 2 investigated whether those taught to have a more malleable vs. fixed conception of well-being would be more likely to 1) endorse adaptive responding to stressful situations and 2) show interest in learning about well-being, stress and happiness. Study 3 investigated whether those given a more malleable vs. fixed conception of well-being would be more likely to embrace goals and priorities allowing them to improve their levels of happiness and well-being and take advantage of an opportunity to relieve situationally-induced stress with a mindfulness exercise. Implications for fostering greater overall well-being and more adaptive responses to stress are discussed
Exploring the minds of people of the past social psychological approaches to historical thinking by Adam Paul Nilsen( file )
1 edition published in 2015 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation consists of three articles united by the question: what happens when we engage with the lives of people of the past? In recent decades, history educators in a number of learning environments have increasingly replaced impersonal, monolithic historical narratives with accounts of real people and their lived experience. These efforts have been part of broader attempts to make history learning environments less focused on the memorization of names and dates, and more focused on "doing history" in the ways that historians do: carefully using historical evidence to understand the contexts within which past people lived. While a great deal of rigorous research has been conducted on historical thinking, we know very little about what happens in moments of one-on-one engagement between a present-day person and a past person. The traces of the real people of the past spark many kinds of thoughts and feelings in modern-day people, yet researchers have rarely considered the psychology of these moments of past/present connection. Instead, they have used vague metaphors in saying that past people "bring the past to life" or "put a face to history." What are the psychological nuances behind these metaphors? Each article is based on a study that approached the overarching question in a different way. Article I focuses on the act of historical perspective taking, creating a framework for understanding how people think as they explore the perspective of past people. Article II confronts the question of how to overcome the barriers that make it difficult for present-day people to understand the perspective of past people perceived as evil--specifically, Holocaust perpetrators. It tests whether a brief exercise in which one is guided to think and write about one's values facilitates one's subsequent engagement with Holocaust-related material. Article III examines the experiences of visitors to a museum exhibit that is replete of images and accounts of past people, and it presents a framework for analyzing how visitors connect with and learn from these representations of past individuals. Altogether, the dissertation illustrates the diversity of questions that stem from thinking more deeply about past/present interpersonal engagements. It raises this as a topic unto itself among other aspects of historical thinking such as evaluating a historical source, corroborating it with others, and placing it into context: how do the kinds of engagements investigated in this dissertation tie into such processes? It also demonstrates that theory and methodologies used by psychologists have much to offer history education research. Finally, the dissertation comes together in that it proposes a set of tools intended to help history educators understand their learners better and to help researchers deepen their analyses of this crucial aspect of historical thinking. The following are the abstracts of the individual articles. Abstract of Article I: This article presents a framework for understanding historical perspective taking (HPT), the effort to use historical material to explore and reconstruct the internal states of past people. It addresses gaps in HPT research by (a) linking HPT to theories and research from the social science disciplines on perspective taking and the self, and (b) proposing a way to analyze how different tasks may elicit different kinds of HPT. The framework is grounded in a study where four young adults thought aloud while taking the perspective of a victim or a perpetrator at the Salem Witch Trials and a Holocaust-era massacre. Four "self perspectives" were identified, whereby participants thought as their present-day selves, constructed hypothetical and imagined past selves, and made timeless generalizations about humans. All participants shifted frequently among these perspectives, suggesting a variety of learning processes. To demonstrate the utility of the framework, it is then used to consider how task characteristics--such as taking the perspective of a Holocaust perpetrator vs. a person accused of witchcraft--may have elicited differential use of the self perspectives. It is argued that close attention to these self perspectives is a crucial and novel way to bring nuance to the concept of HPT, and implications for multiple learning environments are discussed. Abstract of Article II: When trying to understand people who are different from us, it can be all too easy to dismiss them as strange or as inherently evil. This may especially be true with regard to Holocaust perpetrators, where attempting to take their perspective may threaten the self as one questions, "What if I had been one of them?" This article explores data from two experiments that tested a means of reducing this threat: a values affirmation, where one is guided to think and write about one's values. Participants completed a web-based survey in which they were randomly assigned to complete a values affirmation or a control task. They were then asked to read an article about how psychologists can help us understand the complex social dynamics of the Holocaust-era massacre at Józefów, Poland. Participants answered questions that gauged their openness to understanding the perpetrators' perspective, their comfort level, and their empathy. They were asked similar questions about a second article, on the perpetrator of terror attacks in Norway in 2011. It was hypothesized that those who completed the affirmation would show more openness, comfort, and empathy than control participants. Most results were contrary to the hypotheses, however. The data are explored for explanations and patterns that may be instructive for further study, for instance, the effect that writing about the value of "relationships with family and friends" may have on confronting the subsequent historical material. Implications for learners in a range of environments that use challenging historical material are discussed. Abstract of Article III: Article III explores how museum visitors engaged with representations of real people of the past (RRPPs). While educators have widely argued that RRPPs "bring history to life" and benefit learners in various ways, there has yet to be a systematic consideration of what visitors actually do with the representations of the real people they encounter. This article is based on a qualitative study of how 12 museum visitors engaged with RRPPs they encountered in an exhibit, on the California Gold Rush, that foregrounds RRPPs and minimizes curatorial interpretation. Participants "thought aloud" while visiting the exhibit, wearing a GoPro camera mounted to their foreheads to capture their voiced thoughts and what they were seeing and doing, and they were interviewed after their visit. From the coded transcripts, a framework is constructed to account for how participants used RRPPs both as means of interpersonal connection, and as sources for gathering information. Within this framework, six distinct kinds of connection are elaborated. The framework is used to characterize different ways in which participants engaged with the RRPPs--the degree to which they connected and/or gathered information--and in-depth portraits of four participants who showed different patterns of engagement are provided. Questions and concerns are raised about potential benefits and drawbacks to the use of RRPPs in exhibits such as this, and implications for a range of learning environments are discussed
Reducing stereotype threat in classrooms a review of social-psychological intervention studies on improving of Black students : summary by Joshua Aronson( file )
1 edition published in 2009 in English and held by 0 libraries worldwide
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