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Title: Mental time travel in schools : children's counterfactual thinking : the educational implications
Author: Hill, Joanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 8059
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2015
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The current research study explores the use of counterfactual thinking by children in school settings. Counterfactual thinking is entertaining imaginative thoughts about what might have been -­‐ the 'what if' or 'if only' thoughts. Research has shown regularities in the way that people think counterfactually and has suggested that the focus of these thoughts is influenced by the order of events prior to an event (temporal and causal order) and there are strong links with self-­‐ evaluative emotions (e.g., regret and blame) and social judgements (e.g., blame). The first section will entail a comprehensive and in-­‐depth review of the existing literature with regards to this area and its links to educational practice. The empirical study, found in the second section, is primarily aimed at addressing the order effects within counterfactual thinking using quantitative and qualitative methods. Consequently, 121 children were asked to answer questions about two scenarios. In addition, this research adopted a mixed-­‐design approach and a series of interviews were carried out with 13 pupils, randomly selected from the children who took part in the quantitative stage of the study. These pupils were asked specific questions about their responses to the scenarios. Two focus groups comprising of teachers of some of the pupils who took part in the study were also set up to elicit views, more generally, on children's thinking about school-­‐based events. The temporal order effect was observed in the sentence completion task and for blame questions but not for questions about regret and blame. The causal order effect was observed in the choice of first event to focus on but not for the question of blame. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data indicated that children thought of order to explain their choices but also created stories to explain their ideas. A few children described their choices in terms of automatic thoughts; locus of control was also a theme from the interviews. Analysis of teachers' views suggested that they felt negatively about children's thinking in terms of events in school and made links between pupils' thought patterns and their emotional experiences. In addition, the teachers believed that children should take more responsibility for their actions. Interpretations of the findings are discussed with regard to children’s thinking, emotions and behaviour. Implications for educators and educational psychologists are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology