Motivation is one main factor that drives students’ learning and achievement in school. In fact, previous research has shown that students’ motivational engagement is a better predictor of their marks in school than intelligence test scores.
In recent years there has been growing interest on how factors like learning environment, teaching styles and parenting styles impact on students’ motivation in school. Even though there is more focus on this area, only a small amount of work has been carried out on the influences coming from the students’ friendships.
Schools provide lots of chances for students to make friends, work as groups, and interact with each other. Through social activities, students share their motivational experiences with their friends, causing the students’ motivation to influence those of their friends (and vice versa).
The aim of the current research by the group around Kou Murayama is to investigate the spread of motivation within a school environment. They are collecting brain activity of students to see if it becomes more similar over time.
Researchers in the MR Control Room during a brain scan.
The research group led by Kou Murayama (second from left).