Monthly Article Archives: February 2010

The Complexities of Motivation: The Uncertainty of Predicting Behaviors – Part IRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

When I read studies reported in psychology journals I often bypass the abstract located at the top of the paper that summarizes the research findings. Instead, I skip directly to the body of the article that begins with a review of previous studies; this section is followed by a description of the research questions raised and the hypotheses posed in the current study. I avoid the abstract because I enjoy the challenge of guessing what the researcher found or which hypotheses were confirmed and which were not before knowing the actual results. This “guessing game,” which is similar to a good mystery novel, introduces for me a sense of refreshing curiosity to the research process and heightens my intellectual engagement. I wonder, “Did the findings support the hypotheses offered by those conducting the research? If not, why not?” I recall the research I undertook for my dissertation. Most of the test results I predicted were supported by the data, but several were not. In fact, at least two of the findings were in opposite directions from what I anticipated. I was actually more intrigued by the results that were different from my expectations than those that confirmed the hypotheses. Research

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