At the Intersection of
Thinking and Feeling:
Motivation, Emotion,
and how they impact learning
Today’s Topics
–“Cold” vs “Hot” cognition
and motivation
–Flow vs Fear
–Helplessness vs Efficacy
–Neurophysiology of
emotion and memory
“Hot” vs “Cold”
• The idea of “cold” logic is misleading
– The mind and body interact.
Descartes’ Error by A. Damasio
Mood congruent memory
Mood congruent evaluation
Mood and processing style
– Critical thinking requires certain dispositions
• Thought and Knowledge by D. Halpern
Motivation theory
• “Hot” cognition:
– Motivation influences disposition to learn.
• Pintrich, Marx and Boyle “Beyond Cold Cognition”
• Goal orientation theory
– Dweck and Elliot “A Socio-Cognitive Perspective on Motivation”
Mastery goals “I want to learn.”
Performance approach “I want to succeed.”
Performance avoidance “I don’t want to fail.”
Strategic effort “I want the biggest bang for my buck.”
• Implications for teaching?
Flow vs Fear
• The ultimate state of intrinsic motivation
– A. Csikzentmihalyi Flow: The Ultimate Experience
– B. Same experience reported across activities
– C. Balance between challenge and control
• Can we achieve flow in educational settings?
Flow vs Fear
• Anxiety and its effects on learning
– The “Yerkes-Dodson” curve
– Physiological effects
– Cognitive effects
• You can mitigate the effects of anxiety through
class activities and policies.
Helplessness vs
• Learned helplessness
– M. Seligman Learned Helplessness
– Caused by an inability to predict or avoid unpleasant
– Characterized by low effort, depression-like behaviors
• Can we overcome it in our students?
Helplessness vs
• Self-efficacy – an antidote to helplessness
– A. Bandura Self-efficacy
– Belief that one can do a specific task
– Best predictor of student achievement
• How do we foster it in our students?
– Successes, past and present
– Vicarious success (see others succeed)
– Persuasion
Neurophysiology of
emotion and memory
• Memories have an emotional “tag” that aids in
– A. Damasio Descartes’ Error
– The structures of the brain bring emotion and memory
in close proximity with lots of interconnections.
• The effects of stress on neurophysiology
– Scientific American special issues on the brain
• Tune in later for future developments
• Cognition is influenced by
• Positive and negative
emotion affect behavior.
• Self-efficacy is a key.
• There is a lot more to
Readings mentioned
• A. Damasio Descartes’ Error
• D. Halpern Thought and Knowledge
• M. Csikzentmihalya Flow: the Ultimate
• Pintrich, Marx and Boyle “Beyond cold cognition”
in Review of Ed Research
• C. Dweck and M. Elliot “A sociocognitive
perspective on motivation” Educational
• M. Seligman Learned Helplessness
• A. Bandura Self-Efficacy
Motivation theory 2
• Self-determination theory
– Choice
– Control
– Competence
– Relatedness
• Implications for teaching?

At the intersection of thinking and feeling: Motivation, Emotion