Everyone can imagine their future self, even very young children, and this future self is usually positive and education-linked. To make progress toward an aspired future or away from a feared future requires people to plan and take action. Unfortunately, most people often start too late and commit minimal effort to ineffective strategies that lead their attention elsewhere. As a result, their high hopes and earnest resolutions often fall short.
In Pathways to Success Through Identity-Based Motivation Daphna Oyserman focuses on situational constraints and affordances that trigger or impede taking action. Focusing on when the future-self matters and how to reduce the shortfall between the self that one aspires to become and the outcomes that one actually attains, Oyserman introduces the reader to the core theoretical framework of identity-based motivation (IBM) theory. IBM theory is the prediction that people prefer to act in identity-congruent ways but that the identity-to-behavior link is opaque for a number of reasons (the future feels far away, difficulty of working on goals is misinterpreted, and strategies for attaining goals do not feel identity-congruent). Oyserman's book goes on to also include the stakes and how the importance of education comes into play as it improves the lives of the individual, their family, and their society. The framework of IBM theory and how to achieve it is broken down into three parts: how to translate identity-based motivation into a practical intervention, an outline of the intervention, and empirical evidence that it works. In addition, the book also includes an implementation manual and fidelity measures for educators utilizing this book to intervene for the improvement of academic outcomes.
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Daphna Oyserman, Ph.D., is a social scientist at the University of Southern California; she is a Dean's Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education and Communication as well as founding co-director of the Center for Mind and Society. She was recently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (2009-2010) and a senior fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows (2012-2013); other honors include a W.T. Grant Faculty Scholar Award, the Humboldt Scientific Contribution Prize of the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, two "Best Research Paper" awards from the Society for Social Work Research, and Fellow status in the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Society for Experimental Social Psychology. Following her 1987 Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, she held faculty appointments at a number of universities before returning to the University of Michigan where she remained until 2014.
"This unique book captures the pathway from a powerful theory to an effective intervention. Accessible to educators, but thorough enough for researchers, the book lays out the Identity-Based Motivation Theory then covers the research that supports it, how it was translated into an intervention, and the evaluation process that showed the intervention worked as the theory said it should. Dr. Oyserman has written a clear model for translating psychological theory into effective real-world intervention." --Brian Smith, PhD, Research Scientist at Committee for Children
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