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From The CriticsReviewer:Christopher J. Graver, PhD(Madigan Army Medical Center)
Description:This is a comprehensive resource for academicians on the topic of achievement motivation. The book addresses the central constructs of achievement motivation, developmental issues, contextual influence, cultural influence, and self-regulatory processes. Clear structural parameters are provided, a new conceptual framework is introduced, and the previously narrow focus of achievement motivation research is expanded to include research from cultural, development, and other areas.
Purpose:This book is intended to bring together current research findings and theoretical perspectives on achievement motivation in one complete volume. The authors also attempt to refocus the relevant literature around the concept of competence, rather than the somewhat nebulous concept of achievement. Elliot and Dweck have accomplished this superbly with the help of renowned researchers, including Robert Sternberg (Yale University), Mary Rothbart (University of Oregon), and Claude Steele (Stanford University).
Audience:This book is highly appropriate for researchers and students in personality and social psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. Psychology and education professors also should find this a helpful teaching tool, especially for graduate level courses.
Features:This well organized book covers a broad range of topics. Each chapter is generally concise and accessible, but still manages to provide the reader with adequate information regarding key areas. The chapter on intelligence, competence, andexpertise by Sternberg shows that he writes as dynamically as he speaks. Unexpectedly, the chapter on evaluation anxiety is a hidden gem with clear practical implications in a book otherwise dominated by theory. The developmental section covers the entire lifespan and includes a nice discussion by Heckhausen concerning changing roles such as retirement, as well as competence in the face of late-life decline. Of particular interest to educators will be the chapter on legislating competence, including a discussion of the "No Child Left Behind" initiative. Readers should be aware that while figures and tables speckle the lexical landscape, they are few and far between, making this dense, but informative reading.
Assessment:The sheer number of topics covered in this book makes it worthy of the designation as a "handbook." The theoretical constructs behind competence and motivation are highly complex, but the authors provide an abundance of information in the most comprehensive book to date. In addition, this book is highly valuable for its ability to provide conceptual coherence to the vague field of achievement motivation and a novel framework for future research. Researchers, professors, and students in all areas of psychology and education are sure to find this valuable.