AERA Exhibits at NICHD 50th-Anniversary Event on Capitol Hill
AERA Exhibits at NICHD 50th-Anniversary Event on Capitol Hill

August 2012

Jacquelynne Eccles, research scientist and professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, represented AERA as she showcased her research at the 50th-anniversary exhibit of the Friends of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (FNICHD). Eccles’ display was entitled “Developing Interest in Math and Sports: Family Influences.”

The Capitol Hill exhibition took place on July 12 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to highlight the important research funded through NICHD. Representative Rosa DeLauro offered brief remarks on the impact of research on individuals' lives and the necessity for funding health- and development-related research.

Eccles’ research focus is on children and adolescents and the choices they make about how to spend their time. This project, based on research conducted with Jennifer Fredricks, Connecticut College, and Sandra Simpkins, Arizona State University, identifies parental attitudes that can affect a child’s interest in the areas of sports and math.

The research pinpoints characteristics that can influence students’ beliefs about the value of academic tasks. The researchers conclude that

  • Children’s ability self-concepts and task valuing for both math and sports decline with age from kindergarten to 12th grade;
  • Parents’ confidence in their children’s abilities buffers these declines; and
  • Parents’ socialization behaviors and beliefs about their children’s abilities and interests predict the development of individual differences in children’s beliefs and behaviors in both math and sports.

Eccles is a Fellow of AERA and chair-elect of the Governing Board of the AERA Grants Program.

FNICHD is a coalition of nearly 100 organizations representing scientists, health professionals, families, and other advocates for the health and welfare of children, adults, families, and people with disabilities. AERA is an FNICHD member.

Eccles speaks with Dr. Alan Guttmacher,
NICHD director, and other attendees. 

Eccles and AERA Executive Director  
Felice Levine were pleased with the high

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