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University Students’ Emotions in Lectures Critical Essay

In their article “University Students’ Emotions in Lectures: The Effect of Competence Beliefs, Value Beliefs and Perceived Task-Difficulty, and the Impact on Academic Performance”, Greek researchers Georgia Stephanou, Petros Kariotoglou, and Konstantinos Dinas present the results of the investigation on the problem of correlation between students’ emotions at lectures in Psychology, Linguistics and Physics and their academic expectations and performance.

The article was published in The International Journal of Learning in 2011. This quantitative research is related to the problem of academic performance in the field of education with its dependence on such factors as the students’ cognition and emotions.

The researchers have focused not only on examining students’ usual emotions at lectures during the academic semester but also on their performance expectations, the category of ability self-perceptions, on value beliefs, estimated task-difficulty and on the interdependence of these factors with students’ successful and unsuccessful academic performance.

In the study, the authors have presented several hypotheses with the main one suggesting that students who experience positive emotions at lectures are more successful in their academic performance than those students who often experience negative emotions at the same lectures.

Those students who consider their performance as successful experience more positive emotions at lectures. That is why, they argue, the process can be discussed as interdependent.

Furthermore, the level of value beliefs, performance expectations, and ability self-perceptions also depends on the correlation between positive emotions and successful performance.

These hypotheses are based on the results of the previous studies according to which such positive emotions as, for instance, curiosity and pride can affect students’ motivation, cognition, and achievements positively as well as negative emotions provoke students’ unsuccessful performance (Stephanou, Kariotoglou, & Dinas, 2011).

Presented hypotheses can be discussed as useful to explore the causes of students’ high and low academic performance in relation to their emotional state.

The research design was developed to complete the main objectives of investigating the correlation between students’ emotions associated with the lectures in Psychology, Linguistics and Physics and their academic performance with references to the differences in subjects and differences in the character of emotions.

The researchers have concentrated on such factors as students’ values, knowledge, and thinking abilities in order to provide the complex picture of the interdependence between emotions and performance.

The researchers’ focus on the mentioned factors is essential to demonstrate the connection between students’ attitude to the subject, their assessment of the personal abilities, and their further performance.

To provide the quantitative research, the authors measured survey data from a sample of 320 Early Childhood Education female students of the 2nd and 3rd years on the variables: value beliefs, performance expectations, ability self-perceptions, perceived course-difficulties, and academic emotions.

To concentrate on the possible impact of the character of discipline on the students’ academic performance, the researchers have chosen courses in Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics for the further examination of students’ reactions to the lectures in these disciplines. The students were chosen randomly.

To analyse the relevance of the proposed hypotheses, it is necessary to compare the group of students who experience positive emotions and discuss their academic performance as successful with that group of students who have the unsuccessful performance and experience.

The researchers expanded their investigation to examine the dependence of the high academic performance and academic successes not only on positive emotions associated with the lectures in definite disciplines but also with the other significant factors such as performance expectations, perceived task-difficulty, and ability self-perception.

From this point, the researchers state that it is necessary to pay attention to a range of factors which can influence the students’ academic performance where positive results can be associated with such emotions as satisfaction, confidence, and competence on the one hand, and with positive performance expectations and ability self-perception on the other hand.

The students were asked to assess their attitude to lectures in definite disciplines which are associated with the emotions of pleasure, interest, and satisfaction and to analyse their competence and expectations influential for overcoming final tests and examinations.

The students’ answers to the questions from the questionnaires developed for Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics were graded according to seven scales in order to fix the level of students’ values, expectations, cognition, and emotions.

For instance, the Value Beliefs scale included only four questions according to which students assessed their attitude to the discipline and their academic performance. The academic emotions were assessed in relation to eighteen variants.

The questions were answered in the written form, and students assessed their emotions and attitudes with the help of ranging. The questionnaires were completed in front of the researchers’ assistants. The researchers guaranteed the anonymity and confidentiality.

It was necessary to complete the questionnaires in the middle of an academic semester in order to have the opportunity to assess the determined factors and aspects of the students’ perception and attitude with references to their expectations and academic performance.

The researchers’ approach to collecting the data can be discussed as somewhat useful to receive the accurate information.

The study can be discussed as quantitative with references to some specific criteria. The researchers’ focus was on testing their hypotheses, basing on the collected quantitative data which were examined with the help of specific measurements (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2000).

The researchers paid attention to examining the causes of the successful academic performance and effects of the positive and negative emotions experienced at lectures in definite disciplines.

This method can be considered as deductive, and the data analysis depends on identifying the statistical relations or correlation between the variables (Newby, 2010). The collected data were analysed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and an analysis of variance (ANOVA).

The analysed data were organised into several tables according to the aspect examined. As a result, the researchers identified a direct dependence between positive emotions experienced at the lectures and disciplines.

Students experienced more positive emotions while listening to the lectures in Psychology than, for instance, in Physics.

Furthermore, the researchers examined the correlation between the subject factor and successfulness in academic performance. It was found that successful students feel more positive emotions and have higher performance expectations, value beliefs, and discuss the tasks as less difficult.

The methods which were used helped to accentuate the significance of differences in students’ emotions, cognition, perception, and attitudes for their further performance.

That is why, it is possible to speak about the effective usage of methods and instruments in order to support the theoretical hypotheses with the practical study (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010).

As for the results, multiple regression analyses found that students’ self-perceptions and expectations are correlated with their positive or negative emotions experienced while attending the lectures in different disciplines.

These factors are also influential for affecting students’ perception of the task-difficulty and their ability to cope with the task successfully. From this point, all the researchers’ hypotheses were completely or partially confirmed, basing on the data analysis.

The researchers’ findings supported the fact that the interdependence of positive emotions and high academic emotions with references to performance expectations and high ability self-perceptions is more characteristic for students when they attend the lectures in Psychology than in Physics or Linguistics.

Based on the collected data and the analysis of the evidence with the help of MANOVA and ANOVA techniques, the researchers confirmed their main hypotheses. Students can experience a variety of positive and negative emotions regarding their academic successes and expectations.

The researchers concluded that the interdependence of positive emotions and successful performance is more characteristic for students’ results in Psychology when the correlation between the intensity of emotions and their effects on academic successes is not so obvious in relation to Physics and Linguistics.

It is important to note that the authors of the article have found that the students’ perception of their competence is also as significant as their definite positive emotions experienced during the lectures in Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics.

Moreover, the emotions’ impact on the academic performance is interdependent with the impact of the students’ perception of their competence and abilities on their emotions.

From this point, positive emotions, value and competence beliefs in relation to the performance expectations and the perception of task difficulties can influence the students’ academic successes in definite disciplines significantly.

The positive feature of the research is that the researchers paid attention to the fact that students’ perception of the information and of their successes depends on a discipline.

Thus, the impact of emotions was more significant for being successful in Psychology when such categories as self-esteem and value beliefs were more influential in relation to Linguistics and Physics.

According to the researchers’ results, it is possible to speak about the students’ emotions and perceptions as the predicting factor for their further academic performance.

However, this factor also depends on a variety of other factors which are essential for students’ high or low academic performance, and the authors emphasised these aspects as well.

The investigation’s results supported the idea about the importance of students’ positive emotions for their successful performance. It was stated that there is the direct connection between students’ positive emotions, their attitude to the subject and their successes in this discipline.

Positive emotions are also important for predicting positive results during examinations. Moreover, when students experience positive emotions while listening to the lectures in Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics, the level of their self-esteem is also influenced.

According to the researchers’ findings, those students who were oriented to positive performance expectations, experiences positive emotions and were confident in relation to their competence in the definite discipline presented higher results than those students who often experienced the lower level of positive emotions.

It was found that the majority of students experience positive emotions and attitudes in relation to the lectures in Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics. However, the students’ performance also depends on the intensity of these emotions.

Thus, to feel pleasure, satisfaction, pride, curiosity, and interest is essential for performing higher results. Positive emotions are significant for increasing the students’ abilities to overcome tasks and assess their difficulties according to students’ competence.

The researchers’ study is significant for supporting the idea about the role of students’ emotions experienced at lectures for their academic performance, competence, and achievements.

Stephanou, Kariotoglou, and Dinas have developed their quantitative research depending on the data collected with the help of special questionnaires worked out separately for Psychology, Linguistics, and Physics.

The data were analysed with the help of statistical methods. The findings supported the researchers’ hypotheses and accentuated the significance of positive emotions and performance expectations for increasing the students’ academic successes.


Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education. USA: Routledge Falmer.

Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2010). Methods in educational research: From theory to practice. USA: Jossey-Bass.

Newby, P. (2010). Research methods for education. USA: Pearson Education.

Stephanou, G., Kariotoglou, P., & Dinas, K. (2011). University students’ emotions in lectures: The effect of competence beliefs, value beliefs and perceived task-difficulty, and the impact on academic performance. The International Journal of Learning, 18(1), 45-72.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "University Students’ Emotions in Lectures." September 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-students-emotions-in-lectures/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'University Students’ Emotions in Lectures'. 25 September.

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