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This study investigated how self-construal as a sociocultural indicator relates to Singapore students’ incremental beliefs of ability and competitive and cooperative learning preferences, and the mediational role of incremental beliefs of ability in the relationship between self-construal and students’ learning preferences. A large sample of 2648 Singapore secondary students from 102 classes took measures of independent and interdependent self-construal, and about 3 months later they took measures of incremental beliefs of math ability and also competitive and cooperative learning preferences in their math study. We conducted multi-group confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, and the results supported measurement and structural invariance between boys and girls. Interdependent self-construal positively predicted incremental beliefs of math ability, and incremental beliefs of math ability were positively associated with both competitive and cooperative learning preferences. Interdependent self-construal positively predicted cooperative learning preference both directly and through the mediation of incremental beliefs of math ability; it also positively predicted competitive learning preference indirectly through incremental beliefs of math ability. Independent self-construal directly predicted competitive learning preference positively. The findings and implications for classroom teaching are discussed in the academic context of Singapore.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Book Chapter

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