We are currently conducting studies to investigate how students of different ages, academic performance levels, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds interpret and react to various kinds of failures, setbacks, and undesirable situations, especially in the STEM field.

For instance, we study what levels of school performance and types of learning are considered as failure or success. For some students, scoring 65% in math class counts as success, and for other students scoring a 95% in math is counted as a success. We want to understand what standards students set for their own success and failure in a wide variety of academic, social, and personal activities. What roles do their sense of self and beliefs of what it takes to succeed in a given field of study play in their understanding and reaction to failure? These types of studies are often done by conducting in-depth psychological interviews with students from varied cultural and academic backgrounds about their personal experiences and about their understanding of failure encountered in various aspects of their lives. In addition, we also examine peoples’ emotional reactions and decision making after experiencing failure across various cognitive tasks.

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