The importance of emotions for gendered educational and occupational choices in STEM domains


This project is funded by the Zukunftskolleg of the University of Konstanz (mentorship program; mentor: Prof. Dr. Helen Watt, Monash University, Australia)

A lack of skilled workforce in STEM domains (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) will become a serious problem in future years (for data on the development in Germany see Initiative MINT Zukunft schaffen, 2015). Educational choices in school are the first step for or against a STEM career choice. In Germany, especially students from the highest ability track (Gymnasium) are assumed to have knowledge and skills needed to succeed in academic STEM careers. However, especially capable female students drop out of the pipeline for several reasons (Nagy et al., 2008; Watt & Eccles, 2008) but are a promising group to countervail the shortage of academic STEM workforce. Expectancy and value beliefs are demonstrated predictors of educational and occupational choices (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995). Furthermore, affective reactions and memories are assumed to be related to expectancy and value beliefs. However, previous research did not extensively take into account the role that emotions play regarding educational choices as mediated by expectancy and value beliefs, although those relationships seem implicit in that model and emotions are of high importance in learning and achievement contexts.

The project aims at closing this gap in investigating what role emotions play in predicting gendered educational and occupational choices in STEM domains.

Assessment of students’ emotions, expectancy and value beliefs, and career intentions (10th graders and 12th graders from Gymnasium)

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Nagy, G., Garrett, J., Trautwein, U., Cortina, K. S., Baumert, J., & Eccles, J. S. (2008). Gendered high school course selection as a precursor of gendered careers: The mediating role of self‐concept and intrinsic value. In H. M. G. Watt & J. S.

Eccles (Eds.), Gender and occupational outcomes: Longitudinal assessments of individual, social, and cultural influences. (pp. 115‐143). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Peters, E., Västfjäll, D., Gärling, T., & Slovic, P. (2006). Affect and decision making: a “hot” topic. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19(2), 79‐85. doi: 10.1002/bdm.528

Watt, H. M. G., & Eccles, J. S. (2008). Gender and occupational outcomes: Longitudinal assessments of individual, social, and cultural influences. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Watt, H. M. G., Shapka, J. D., Morris, Z. A., Durik, A. M., Keating, D. P., & Eccles, J. S. (2012). Gendered motivational processes affecting high school mathematics participation, educational aspirations, and career plans: A comparison of samples from Australia, Canada, and the United States. Developmental Psychology, 48(6), 1594‐1611. doi: 10.1037/a0027838

Re-analyses of diary and ESM data as collected in previous studies (e.g., else1)

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