WMP Lab Meeting: Individual Differences in Plasticity: Exploring the Effect of Intelligence, Working Memory, Motivation, and Mindset on the Learning Curves During Dual-N-Back Training
Working Memory and Plasticity Lab Meeting
Friday, September 13, 2019
1:00 to 3:00 pm
Presentation by Per Trads Ørskov: "Individual Differences in Plasticity: Exploring the Effect of Intelligence, Working Memory, Motivation, and Mindset on the Learning Curves During Dual-N-Back Training"
For this presentation I will shortly describe the study I have been involved in, and then move on to discuss learning in relation to the dual-n-back task. The study we did was a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 2,391 Danish students from 18 vocational and general upper secondary schools (age of students: 17.88 years [SD 2.80]). We studied the effectiveness of a multifaceted brain training intervention involving cognitive training, physical activity, and social interaction. We compared the multifaceted brain training intervention with a passive and an active control group.
At the presentation I will focus on the data collected in the active control group. The active control group (n=754) did 20 minutes of dual-n-back followed by 30 min of walking once per week for a total of 12 weeks. The students reported their training data after each training session. Around 250 students reported back on at least nine out of 12 training sessions. In addition to the training data, we have data on student intelligence (RIAS), working memory (word span/matrix span), motivation (for doing dual-n-back), perceived stress (Cohen's perceived stress scale), sleep quality (PSQI), and mindset (Dweck intelligence questionnaire). I will present the data collected in the active control group, and then I hope for a discussion on (a) data analysis, and (b) learning in dual-n-back training.
Alumna Sonja Lind, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Director of Education Abroad at California State University, San Bernardino. In her new position, Dr. Lind will be reporting to the Associate Dean of the College of Extended and Global Education (CEGE) and, as a member of the college leadership team, promoting comprehensive internationalization and global engagement. As a supporter of Californian higher education, Lind is a proud UC and CSU graduate and employee.
Lind brings a wealth of international experience to her new position. Often described as a "global soul," she is a Canadian/Norwegian dual citizen who has lived in Kenya, England, and South Korea and traveled to 47 different countries.
For the past two and a half years, she has served as the Education Abroad Coordinator in the College of Professional and Global Education at California State University, Los Angeles. During her tenure, she accelerated exchange applications by an 80% increase and scholarship applications by <250% increase.
Prior to her LA experience, Lind served as the Coordinator of Changing Global Society at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. In this position, she pioneered the university's first centralized study abroad program, doubled study abroad applications among students in two years, led a one-month study abroad group to Florence, Italy, and coordinated cultural campus events such as Diwali, Korean New Year, and Día de los Muertos with 30% of all students attending at least one event.
Lind received her Ph.D. in Education from UCI in 2014, specialized in Language, Literacy, & Technology. For her dissertation, Cultures of Support: A Case Study of International Undergraduate Students and International Center Staff Members, she conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with 15 Southeast and East Asian undergraduate students and produced the university’s first and only dissertation on identifying and supporting the needs of international undergraduate students.
In looking forward to her new position in San Bernardino, Lind comments, "This is a continuation of my goal of helping underrepresented university students achieve their dream of studying in another country, affordably. For me, that's the meaning of life.”
Lind will be assuming her new position right after her attempt to finally summit Mt Whitney.
Assistant Professor Constance Iloh Awarded the Social Justice Activist Award at the 2019 UCI Dynamic Womxn Awards
Left: Facia Strong (undergraduate); Former student in Dr. Iloh's "Controversies in College" course
Center: Dr. Constance Iloh
Right: Joshua Isiaiah Cinque- Scruggs (undergraduate); Mentored by Dr. Iloh
Dr. Constance Iloh was awarded the Social Justice Activist Award at the 2019 Dynamic Womxn Awards. The Social Justice Activist Award recognizes an incredible womxn and role model actively making a difference in our community and inspiring action. While reading about Dr. Iloh and her extensive contributions before giving her the award, Jade Turner shared:
This recipient is a substantial mentor, leader, professor, and educator at the School of Education. Her presence in the classroom and beyond is felt by her students who look to her for advice and comfort on their journey here at UCI. She has been described as a cool, dynamic, amazing, strong, Black womxn who not only challenges her students, but provides a vulnerable and informative space. One nominator for Dr. Iloh said, “The reason why I appreciate this dynamic womxn is because she is my rock that keeps me going within my educational career… I felt comfortable enough with her in one office hour, to be vulnerable, tell my truth, and to process my feelings and emotions”. This individual uplifts, motivates, and encourages students of color to push forward. In the words of this winner, “Dream big, because we don’t settle.”
The UCI Dynamic Womxn awards ceremony took place on May 28, 2019. Below are just two of the nominations for Dr. Constance Iloh:
When searching for classes like any other students I look to see what professors teach each class, but I also look for their ethnicity. In my dream class I would be taught by a strong Black female, who would challenge me intellectually, and be able to understand me on a deep level, with a deeper connection. That’s what I found in Dr. Iloh. Before I took a class with her, I would hear about how amazing and cool Dr.Iloh was, wishing that I would meet her and to be in her presence. When the chance came I made sure to make room in my schedule to develop an amazing mentor that I didn’t know I needed. Fall quarter of my third year I sign up for a class titled “Controversy in College”, going into this class excited by the name, and just as excited at who was teaching the class, Dr. Iloh. I could go on and on about how amazing the class was, and how it shaped my views, as well as taught me to stand by my views. However, the reason why I appreciate this dynamic womxn is because she is my rock that keeps me going within my educational career. It initially started off as an office hour meeting to talk about me going into graduate school, and ended with me crying about the real reasons of me not wanting to go into a master's program. I felt comfortable enough with Dr. Iloh in this one office hour, to be vulnerable, tell my truth, and to process my feelings and emotions. From this moment, and the teaching in her class, I value and cherish faculty of color so much more. For being able to uplift, motivate, be vulnerable, encourage myself and other students of color. One thing that Dr. Iloh told me once that I live by is “dream big, because we don’t settle.”
Dr. Iloh has personally challenged me to be a researcher and producer of qualitative research. Because of her, I have decided in pursuing my Ph.D. in education. After taking Dr. Iloh’s Controversies in College course last fall we cultivated strong conversations with relevant current media and literature that students can relate with. In her course we were able to analyze and critique higher institutions of higher education by having fruitful dialogue with fellow peers in the class. I was able to visibly interact with the students in the classroom and we learned each other's names, an opportunity I haven't had in my other courses. Dr. Iloh’s class was the most interesting course that I have taken at UCI and my classmates can agree. I have recommended her class to all my fellow peers. I hope to see more of Dr. Iloh’s in the future. This is my reason of my nomination.
Left to right: Sophaline Chuong (graduate student); Former student in Dr. Iloh's Qualitative Research Methods Course
Dr. Constance Iloh, Joshua Isiaiah Cinque- Scruggs, Facia Strong
Ph.D. student Jennifer Duer has received a dissertation grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Her ACF grant provides $25,000 for one-year of doctoral research that promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities.
Under the guidance of dissertation advisor Assistant Professor Jade Jenkins, Duer will be examining the effects of early Head Start, a program that promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Throughout her doctoral studies, Duer has examined the characteristics of early childhood education programs participating in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and the implications of blended funding models in early childhood settings. Researching Early Head Start and its impacts on children and families has been a focus of her work.
Duer's research will complement the research being conducted by Dr. Jenkins, who has recently been awarded three major grants: (a) Hellman Fellowship Grant, 2019-2020: The Impacts of State Early Childhood Policies on Children with Disabilities; (b) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Grant, 2019-2024: Factors in Persistence Versus Fadeout of Early Childhood Intervention Impacts; and (c) Spencer Foundation Grant, 2018-2020: The Returns of an Additional Year of Schooling: The Case of State-Mandated Kindergarten.
Duer is the fourth recent doctoral student to receive a ACF dissertation grant. Previous recipients are alumna Elizabeth B. Miller, Ph.D., currently Project Director at New York University Institute of Human Development and Social Change SMART Beginnings; alumna Anamarie Auger, Ph.D., Associate Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation; and alumna Tutrang Nguyen, Ph.D., IES Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development.
Ph.D. Alumna Marcela Reyes is joining Irvine Valley College (IVC) as a Research & Planning Analyst. IVC is a premier community college that provides students different avenues for success. It offers guided pathways to transfer opportunities, certificates, associate degrees, employment, and further education to a diverse and dynamic local and global community. The college also fosters economic and workforce development through strategic partnerships with business, government, and educational networks.
In her new role, Dr. Reyes will conduct research to foster the quality improvement of student learning by providing accurate and innovative information that drives the college decision-making. She will collaborate with different departments (e.g., Office of Instruction), as well as high schools and organizations that work closely with IVC.
Reyes received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine in 2016, specialized in Educational Policy and Social Context. Her advisors were Distinguished Professor Greg Duncan and Dr. Thurston Domina. She received her master’s degree from UCLA in Social Research Methodology, and bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Sociology with a minor in Mathematics.
Reyes has been working as a postdoctoral scholar with Chancellor's Professor Carol Connor in the Center for Creating Opportunities through Education (CCOE). The Center includes faculty in education, psychology, cognitive science, sociology, and related disciplines who work together to address a significant society challenge: creating opportunity for all students but particularly students who come from low-income families, are a cultural or racial minority, or who receive special education, through effective educational interventions. CCOE aims to build partnerships that are mutually beneficial to researchers and practitioners. Reyes has worked on developing partnerships with Orange County school districts and other organizations (e.g., Head Start). She collected information about our partner’s goals and educational challenges in order to connect faculty and practitioners with shared interests.
"What Makes Them Persist? Expectancy-Value Beliefs and the Math Participation, Performance, and Preparedness of Hispanic Youth"
Associate Project Scientist Nayssan Safavian is sole author of a new article in AERA Open: "What Makes Them Persist? Expectancy-Value Beliefs and the Math Participation, Performance, and Preparedness of Hispanic Youth."
This study examined the longitudinal associations of Hispanic youths’ 9th-grade math expectancy-values and their subsequent participation (course taking and advanced course taking), performance, and preparedness (high school graduation and university eligibility) across 9th to 12th grades. Gender moderation associations of expectancy-value and participation, performance, and preparedness were evaluated. Students’ socio-demographic characteristics and previous math experiences (achievement and curricular track) were controlled. The study sample (n = 1,116) was 53% female, 46% English learner, and 84% low income. Males reported higher expectancy, interest, attainment, and cost values. Females completed more math courses and advanced courses, achieved stronger course grades, and were more likely to complete math preparation requirements for high school graduation and college. Associations of expectancy-value, and participation and performance were observed along with gender-moderated associations with preparedness. The odds of graduation preparedness were increased for females with high attainment value, whereas the odds of university preparedness were increased for males with high utility value.
Dr. Safavian is a 2013 graduate of UCI's Ph.D. in Education program, specialized in Learning, Cognition, and Development. She currently is an associate project scientist working with Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles researching motivated choice and academic and occupational attainment.
Ph.D. Alumna Masha Jones is joining WestEd's Learning Innovations Program as a Research Associate. WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.
In her new role, Dr. Jones is evaluating the U.S. Department of Education-funded Magnet School Assistance Program for Albuquerque Public Schools, which aims to desegregate public schools by supporting the reduction of minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools. She is also evaluating U.S. Department of Education Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers, which help low-performing schools and districts close achievement gaps.
In addition, Jones is evaluating a the Child Development Training Consortium, a statewide program that provides services, training, technical assistance, and resources to students and professionals working with and for children, funded by the California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division (CDE/ELCD) with federal Child Care and Development Quality Improvement funds. Dr. Jones is also monitoring newly established charter schools across the US.
While in graduate School, Masha was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow who developed, implemented, and evaluated interventions for children who struggle with learning and attention. Jones received her PhD in Education with a specialization in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development. She was advised by Associate Professor Susanne Jaeggi and was an active member of the Working Memory and Plasticity (WMP) lab, where she mentored dozens of undergraduate research assistants.
Assistant Professor Jade Jenkins has published an article with UCI alumnae Anamarie Auger (Rand Corporation), Ph.D., Tutrang Nguyen (University of Virginia), Ph.D., and Winnie Yu (Postdoctoral Researcher) in Journal of Educational Effectiveness: "Distinctions Without a Difference? Preschool Curricula and Children's Development."
Public preschool programs require the use of a research-based, whole-child curriculum, yet limited research examines whether curricula influence classroom experiences and children’s development. We use five samples of preschool children to examine differences in classroom processes and children’s school readiness by classroom curricular status (curriculum/no curriculum), and across classrooms using different curricular packages. When a teacher reports using a curriculum, their classroom processes are indistinguishable from classrooms where teachers report using no curriculum. Some differences in classroom activities emerged across classrooms using different curricula; however, substantial variability exists across classrooms using the same curriculum. Head Start program fixed effects models and meta-analytic regressions reveal few associations between curricula and children's skills. Findings question whether preschool curricular policy benefit child development.
Ph.D. Alumnus David Da Wei Liu is joining AT&T's End Product Measuring and Optimization team, housed in AT&T's experience design studio (XDS).
As a User Experience (UX) Researcher, Dr. Liu will be working to increase AT&T's UX data competency, data collection, presentation, and evaluation processes, and data driven decision making. His role will be focused on statistical analysis and quantitative research for the video streaming platform DirecTV now (200K+ users) and for AT&T Broadband Hardware products.
Liu received his Ph.D. in Education specialized in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development. His research interests included science education, out-of-school time activities, and diversity & equity. He was advised by Associate Professor Hosun Kang.
While a Ph.D. student, Liu engaged in a design-based research project, situated in a research practice partnership, to understand how to create afterschool programs that connect home, school, and community resources. Liu and his team designed, planned, and implemented weekly science outreach programs and monthly family science nights at the El Sol Science & Arts Academy in Santa Ana. The aim of the project was to support students to position themselves as active science learners and to use science to improve their communities. For more information: SuperScienceSquad.com
During his doctoral studies, Liu was honored as a Newkirk Fellow and received UCI Engage "Graduate Student Future of the Field Award." Read more here.
Liu received his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Public Health with a minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Irvine. After graduation, he spent a year in the AmeriCorps State program in a children’s museum conducting a research study on how children develop scientific thinking skills and understand their own learning processes. Along with being a research assistant, David taught in the museum’s after school K-5 STEM program.
Ph.D. alumnus Osman Umarji is joining the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research as Director of Survey Research and Evaluation and Senior Research Fellow.
The Yaqeen Institute is a non-profit research institute that addresses relevant topics, translates and analyzes classical works on the subject matter, and disseminates research findings in journals, papers, articles, surveys, videos, conferences, and curriculum.
Dr. Umarji will be researching the development of religious identity, with emphasis on the causes of religious doubt and conviction, and working on a project investigating the relations between motivation, engagement, and achievement in online courses.
While a doctoral student, Umarji studied the dynamic nature of motivation, including the role of values, goal setting, and self-regulation on behavior. He also explored positive psychology, particularly in the development of character strengths and moral beliefs. His Ph.D. in Education specialization was Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development. He was advised by Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles.
Osman previously received his B.S in Electrical Engineering from UC Irvine and worked as a systems engineer at Broadcom Corporation in mobile phone development. He then traveled across the world to Cairo, Egypt to study Arabic and Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University in the School of Islamic Law.
Recent publication: Umarji, O., McPartlan, P., & Eccles, J. (2018). Patterns of math and English self-concepts as motivation for college major selection. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 53, 146-158.