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Factors Influencing Learner Conceptions of Force: Exploring the Interaction among Visuospatial Ability, Motivation, and Conceptions of Newtonian Mechanics in University Undergraduates from an Evolutionary Perspective

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dc.contributor.advisor Annetta, Leonard A.
dc.contributor.author Vallett, David Bruce
dc.creator Vallett, David Bruce en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-08-19T21:14:47Z
dc.date.available 2013-08-19T21:14:47Z
dc.date.issued 2013-08 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/8333
dc.description.abstract This study examined the relationships among visuospatial ability, motivation to learn science, and learner conceptions of force across commonly measured demographics with university undergraduates with the aim of examining the support for an evolved sense of force and motion. Demographic variables of interest included age, ethnicity, and gender, which served to determine the ubiquity of the effects of the exogenous variables. Participants (n=91) self selected from introductory physics courses at a large public university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Utilizing a single-group exploratory design, all participants completed a series of anonymous online instruments to assess the variables of interest. Analysis consisted of an ANOVA for significance testing of demographic variables and a single-level structural equation model (SEM) to ascertain the causal influence of visuospatial ability and affect in the form of motivation on learner conceptions of force. Results of the SEM indicated that while motivation had a nonsignificant (p>.05) impact with this sample, visuospatial ability had a strong (.5 unit change in physics achievement per unit of VSA, p<.05) influence on Newtonian conceptions of mechanics. The results of this study inform physics educators as to the factors underlying conceptual change in Newtonian physics and generate hypotheses regarding the cognitive processes and corresponding neural substrates associated with successful Newtonian reasoning.
dc.format.extent 129 pages en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Copyright 2013 David Bruce Vallett en_US
dc.subject Science education en_US
dc.subject Cognitive psychology en_US
dc.subject Educational Evolutionary Psychology en_US
dc.subject Learner Cognition en_US
dc.subject Motivation en_US
dc.subject Physics Education en_US
dc.subject Visuospatial Reasoning en_US
dc.title Factors Influencing Learner Conceptions of Force: Exploring the Interaction among Visuospatial Ability, Motivation, and Conceptions of Newtonian Mechanics in University Undergraduates from an Evolutionary Perspective en_US
dc.type Dissertation en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.discipline Education en
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University en


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