Cognition

Why Hopefulness Is a Greater Predictor of Academic Success than Intelligence

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U.S. Naval Academy graduates throw their hats in the air during graduation ceremonies at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

This article is part of the Hope and Optimism initiative which explores the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of hope, optimism, and related states.

Succeeding at school or university is about more than memorizing vast amounts of information and impressing professors with ingenious ideas. A growing body of scientific investigation now supports the conclusion that being hopeful has a distinctly positive effect on academic performance.

One paper from the University of Kansas looked at how the presence of hope boosted college achievement over a 6-year period, finding that ‘high-hope’ students had higher GPAs, and were more likely to graduate than ‘low-hope’ students.

A separate 3-year study by a team of British researchers has shown that hope is not only related to academic success, but is a greater predictor of success than intelligence tests, personality, or whether individuals previously did well in academic environments.

But what is hope? Recent studies have based their definition on positive psychologist Rick Snyder’s theory developed in the 1990s. Snyder saw hope as a “cognitive process allowing individuals to plan for and execute the pursuit of goals.”

Snyder’s separate “hope theory” offers more insight on the concept of hope.

Students studying
Students studying

Students study with their laptop computers in the Pedagogical Library at the Freie Universitaet university on September 20, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In a 1991 paper, Snyder outlined his theory as “a cognitive set that is based on a reciprocally-derived sense of successful agency (goal-directed determination) and pathways (planning to meet goals)”. In other words, it is essential for hope that a person feels he or she has agency — an ability…

See What Over 1000 Quora Users Around The World Would Recommend If You Can Only Read Once In Your Life

When asked to pick only one book to recommend to someone, most people would agree that it is quite a difficult task. Firstly, because there are so many great pieces that it seems unfair to pick just one. Secondly, definition of a great book varies from person to person. Yet, when asked what would be the one they would recommend if someone could only read once in their life, most Quora users opted for books that greatly influenced their thinking and ideas about life. Go through the list and see if you agree and maybe pick one or two for your personal library.

1. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

The book explores lives, works and ideas of logician Kurt Gödel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer Jonathan Sebastian Bach. Using puns, metaphors and puzzles to connect concepts of mathematics, symmetry and intelligence, the book actually explores the notion of human cognition and consciousness. The value of the book is in its ability to take you on a journey of exploring your abilities to self-reflect, and it doesn’t require a scientist or artist of any sort to realize the universality of laws of our consciousness and perception.

2. Best of Quora (2010 – 2012)

Great book that covers 18 sections of creative, funny, practical and intelligent answers to all sorts of questions. A book about everything for everyone. “It’s less about the “right answer” and more about perceptions and experiences.” Says one of the reviewers.

3. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Written as a means to fix the emotional scars that surgeon Maxwell Maltz couldn’t help his patients with by surgical procedure, Psycho-Cybernetics is one of the corner-stones of self-help programs. Even though…

Questions remain about the benefits of taking testosterone

testosterone test-tube
As men age, testosterone levels in the blood tend to drop. Replacing the hormone through testosterone treatments brings an assortment of benefits and potential problems.

LOW T

As a treatment for the ailments of aging, testosterone’s benefits are hit or miss.

For men with low testosterone, the hormone therapy is helpful for some health problems, but not so much for others, researchers report in five papers published February 21 in JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine. Testosterone therapy was good for the bones, but didn’t help memory. It remedied anemia and was linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. But treatment also upped the amount of plaque in the arteries, an early indicator of heart attack risk, researchers report.

“It’s a very confusing area,” says Caleb Alexander, a prescription drug researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved with the work. “Testosterone very well may help men feel more energized,” he says. “But the real question is: At what cost?”

As men age, their testosterone levels tend to drop. Researchers have suggested that boosting the levels back up to normal might counter some signs of aging, including memory loss and weakened bones. But the risks of such treatment — especially the cardiovascular risks — remain unclear, Alexander says. Dozens of studies have tackled the question, but the results “point in lots of different directions,” he says.

Despite lack of clarity on testosterone therapy’s safety and benefits, the number of men taking the hormone has soared in recent years. One 2014 analysis estimated that 2.2 million men filled testosterone…