Emotions in nondirected text learning

Richard M. Ryan, James P. Connell, Robert W. Plant

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146 Scopus citations


Two studies examined the influence of emotions on nondirected learning. Nondirected learning is conceptualized as learning which occurs in the absence of external prompts, reinforcements, or specific instruction. In Study 1, one of two expository texts was given to ninety-two undergraduate subjects for the ostensible purpose of obtaining attitudinal and emotional ratings. Two separate measures of motivational and emotional factors and perceived comprehension were administered immediately following the subjects' reading of the text. No mention of later testing occurred. After a brief delay, subjects' recall of the texts was obtained and scored using a propositional coding scheme. Correlational results revealed that factor-analytically derived dimensions of interest-enjoyment and task involvement were positively associated with perceived comprehension text recall, while ego-involvement, shame, and hostility were negatively related to these same variables. Study 2 was conducted: first, to replicate the emotion dimensions obtained in Study 1 on a larger, combined sample; second, using the larger samples to specify and test a "path model" of the indirect influence of emotions on nondirected learning through perceived comprehension; and, third, in Study 2 alone, to assess the stability of the recall measure over a ten-day period and the effects of verbal aptitude on the relations between the variables in the path model. The discussion focuses on the significance of motives and emotions for nondirected learning and the implications of the current study for organismic learning theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENT Support pr ovided by the Office of Naval Researchu nder Contract NOOOO14-76-C-0w01it h the Center for Naval Analysis of the University of Rochester.


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