2D:4D Asymmetry and Gender Differences in Academic Performance
Exposure to prenatal androgens affects both future behavior and life choices. However, there is still relatively limited evidence on its effects on academic performance. Moreover, the predicted effect of exposure to prenatal testosterone (T)–which is inversely correlated with the relative length of the second to fourth finger lengths (2D:4D)–would seem to have ambiguous effects on academic achievement since traits like aggressiveness or risk-taking are not uniformly positive for success in school. We provide the first evidence of a non-linear, quadratic, relationship between 2D:4D and academic achievement using samples from Moscow and Manila. We also find that there is a gender differentiated link between various measures of academic achievement and measured digit ratios. These effects are different depending on the field of study, choice of achievement measure, and use of the right hand or left digit ratios. The results seem to be asymmetric between Moscow and Manila where the right (left) hand generates inverted-U (U-shaped) curves in Moscow while the pattern for hands reverses in Manila. Drawing from unusually large and detailed samples of university students in two countries not studied in the digit literature, our work is the first to have a large cross country comparison that includes two groups with very different ethnic compositions.
The existing findings on the relationship between optimism and academic performance are rather contradictory. Two studies were undertaken to investigate thе relationship between attributional style, well-being, and academic performance. A new Russian-language measure of attributional style for positive and negative events (Gordeeva, Osin, Shevyakhova, 2009) with stability, globality, and controllability subscales was used. In the first study, optimistic attributional style for good events was associated with higher academic achievement in high school students (N=225) and mediated the effect of academic performance on self-esteem. In the second study, pessimistic attributional style for negative events predicted success in passing three difficult written entrance examinations in university entrants (N=108), and optimistic attributional style for good events predicted success with success expectations as a mediator. The results indicate that attributional styles for positive and negative events are not uniform in their relationship to performance in different academic settings and to well-being variables.
In this study, the authors pinpoint the similarities and differences between students at a Russian university and a Swedish university regarding the students’ value systems. What similarities and what differences are there between male Swedish students and male Russian students, and what similarities and what differences are there between the female students in the two countries? The authors’ interest was directed towards the gender differences between the two countries. A method employing three phases was developed for analyses of the value systems in the two countries. Students, who, as a category, often challenge existing value systems, were chosen as informants. Student samples from each country, varying in number from 63 to 100 informants, provided data in the three sub-studies. The results indicated that similar national concepts, when translated into English, exposed significant differences in their connotations, a phenomenon which is discussed in relation to implications for intercultural communication. In particular, the concepts of democracy and gender equality are highlighted. Differences and similarities related to gender and nationality constitute the bulk of the discussion. A major finding was that concepts describing close interpersonal relations, such as friendship and love, were cross-nationally rated higher than values more distant from the individual’s private world, such as democracy and equal rights.
In the article on the basis of the psycholinguistic experimental data obtained in 2009-2010 from Russian and Swedish students (the project on Swedish Institute grant) we consider internal features of several complex values (“Harmony”, “Freedom”, “Democracy”, “Tolerance” and “Patriotism”) and analyze their external systemic organization, taking into account both specificity of the two cultures and gender specifics. We argue that value concepts are hierarchically organized, forming different generalization levels from the simple to the more complex ones with intricate overlapping among different complex values within the system.
The issue presents an analysis of the association between the functional literacy and students' characteristics and educational trajectories. The analysis is conducted on the data of the Russian longitudinal study "Trajectories in education and profession." The differences in socio-economic characteristics, academic self-esteem and performance, as well as the choice of educational trajectories among students with low, medium and high level of functional literacy in PISA-2012 are described. The results show that students with low literacy levels not only have low educational results, but also less realistic forecast their future achievements and trajectories.
Meta-analytic research in psychology of academic performance proved that Big Five Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience predict scholastic achievements of university students (O’Connor, Paunonen, 2007; Poropat, 2009). But we claim that psychological predictiors of academic success depend on educational environment and can be culture-related. We examined 176 2nd and 3rd year economy and computer science university students in Russia with the Big Five – Ipsative version test (Shmelyov, 2010) and discovered that GPA and USE (United State Examination in Russia) scores are significantly correlated with Agreeableness (r = 0.15; p < 0.01 for GPA and r = 0.22 p < 0.01 for USE math) and Neuroticism (r = 0.2, p < 0.01 for GPA and r = -0,17; p < 0,01 for USE math). We suppose that the difference between our result and results provided by the meta-analyses mentioned above can be explained by the differences in educational environment in Russia and other countries. We assume that big number of classes and relatively small amount of individual and analytical assignments create the environment where Agreeableness and Neuroticism are important for the academic success.
Comparative analysis of network and real-life identity explores two hypotheses: 1) aspects of identity, its different parameters may have diverse profiles for the network and the reality conditions; 2) they may also indicate gender and age differences. The study is held on the sample of 42 participants, aged from 15 to 25, who were interviewed. Gender and age differences were found referring to the social identity in the network and the reality, and for superficial identity in the network condition, as well as differences for individual and relational identity in the network and the reality conditions. Variability of the factor structure was found for the network condition in comparison with the aspects of identity in reality.
Students' internet usage attracts the attention of many researchers in different countries. Differences in internet penetration in diverse countries lead us to ask about the interaction of medium and culture in this process. In this paper we present an analysis based on a sample of 825 students from 18 Russian universities and discuss findings on particularities of students' ICT usage. On the background of the findings of the study, based on data collected in 2008-2009 year during a project "A сross-cultural study of the new learning culture formation in Germany and Russia", we discuss the problem of plagiarism in Russia, the availability of ICT features in Russian universities and an evaluation of the attractiveness of different categories of ICT usage and gender specifics in the use of ICT.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.