SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Evans, P., & McPherson, G. E. (2015). Identity and practice: The motivational benefits of a long-term musical identityPsychology of Music, 43, 407–422.

Abstract: This article reports on a 10-year longitudinal study of children’s musical identity, their instrumental practice, and subsequent achievement and motivation for playing music. Before commencing learning on their instrument, participants (N = 157) responded to questions relating to how long they thought they would continue playing their instrument. Once learning commenced, practice was measured using the parents’ estimates each year for the first 3 years of learning, and performance was measured using a standardized test. Ten years later, the participants were asked how long they had sustained music learning along with other questions related to their musical development. Those who expressed both a personal long-term view of playing an instrument before they began instruction, and who sustained high amounts of practice in the first 3 years, demonstrated higher achievement and a longer length of time spent in music learning compared to those with a short-term view and low levels of practice. Results suggest that while practice and self-regulation strategies are important, learners who possess a sense of where their future learning might take them and whose personal identity includes a long-term perspective of themselves as a musicians are better positioned to succeed and sustain with their instrumental learning.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What type of research design was used in the study? What data collection technique?
  2. Based on the description, which observation technique do you think the researchers used in this study? In what way did their design avoid some of the disadvantages of this technique? What disadvantages of this technique are possibly affecting their results in this study?
  3. How do the authors operationally define musical identity? Why is it important to operationally define variables?

Journal Article 2: DeLoss, D. J., Wantabe, T., & Andersen, G. J. (2015). Improving vision among older adults: Behavioral training to improve sight. Psychological Science, 26, 456–466.

Abstract: A major problem for the rapidly growing population of older adults (age 65 and over) is age-related declines in vision, which have been associated with increased risk of falls and vehicle crashes. Research suggests that this increased risk is associated with declines in contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. We examined whether a perceptual-learning task could be used to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. Older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. Improvements transferred to performance for an untrained stimulus orientation and were not associated with changes in retinal illuminance. Improvements in far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults were also found. These findings indicate that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Describe the variables in this study (independent variable and levels, dependent variable).
  2. What types of extraneous variables should the researchers be concerned about in this study?
  3. How would you judge the external validity of this study?