Neil Lewis, Jr. from Cornell University talks with us about about his research into what differentiates students who experience difficulty in college as signaling its importance from those that make it mean that completing college is impossible in episode 29. His article “No pain no gain? Social demographic correlates and identity consequences of interpreting experienced difficulty as importance” was published with Cristina Aelenei and Daphna Oyserman in the January 2017 issue of Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Differing Interpretations of Difficulty - Neil Lewis, Jr.
Differing Interpretations of Difficulty - Neil Lewis, Jr.
Differing Interpretations of Difficulty - Neil Lewis, Jr. Differing Interpretations of Difficulty - Neil Lewis, Jr.
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Transcript

Neil Lewis, Jr.: It turns out actually they’re not quite opposite ends of the same coin, they turn out to be two different coins.

Doug Leigh: This is Parsing Science: the unpublished story is behind the world’s most compelling science as told by the researchers themselves. I’m Doug Leigh. Ryan’s away on vacation this week but he’ll be back next time. Today in episode 29 of the show we’re joined by Neil Lewis, Jr., a social psychologist from Cornell University. He’ll talk with us about his research into what differentiates students who experience difficulty in college is a sign of the importance of succeeding academically from those that take difficulty in school to mean that successfully completing a college degree is impossible. Here’s Neil Lewis, Jr..

Neil Lewis, Jr.: Well, hi I’m Neil Lewis, Jr.. I’m an assistant professor at Cornell University in the Department of Communication and I’m also in the graduate faculty in Communication and Psychology here at Cornell. I’m broadly interested in trying to understand what are barriers that keep people from achieving their goals in a variety of domains. So done work on savings behavior I’ve done work on health behavior increasingly doing more work and in the climate change sustainability area; do a lot of work in education. But what are the barriers that keep people from succeeding and how can studying those processes help us to potentially develop interventions that can help people achieve their goals. That’s sort of the broad unifying theme of my work.

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