Benjamin Motz

Benjamin Motz
Indiana University Bloomington | IUB · Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

PhD in Cognitive Science

About

44
Publications
14,297
Reads
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604
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2018 - present
Indiana University Bloomington
Position
  • Researcher
August 2008 - July 2018
Indiana University Bloomington
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2003 - December 2006
University of California, San Diego
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Full-text available
To identify the ways teachers and educational systems can improve learning, researchers need to make causal inferences. Analyses of existing datasets play an important role in detecting causal patterns, but conducting experiments also plays an indispensable role in this research. In this article, we advocate for experiments to be embedded in real e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Psychology researchers have long attempted to identify educational practices that improve student learning. However, experimental research on these practices is often conducted in laboratory contexts or in a single course, threatening the external validity of the results. In this paper, we establish an experimental paradigm for evaluating the benef...
Article
Teachers commonly use injunctive norms when telling students what they should be doing. But researchers find that sometimes descriptive norms, information about what others are actually doing, are more powerful influencers of behavior. In the present work, we examine which norm is more effective at increasing self‐regulated studying and performance...
Conference Paper
A central concern in learning analytics specifically and educational research more generally is the alignment of robust, coherent measures to well-developed conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Capturing and representing processes of learning remains an ongoing challenge in all areas of educational inquiry and presents substantive considerations...
Preprint
Full-text available
As institutions of higher education increasingly utilize online learning management systems, college students are asked to submit more assignments online. Under this regime, when most assignments are posted and submitted online, it is possible to know if a student is missing a submission for an imminent deadline, and to intervene proactively to red...
Preprint
Learning analytics defines itself with a focus on learner data, with corresponding goals of understanding and optimizing student learning. In this regard, learning analytics research, ideally, should be characterized by studies that make use of data from learners engaged in education systems, should measure student learning, and should make efforts...
Preprint
Considering that the central theme of learning analytics is data, there are uniquely strong benefits to sharing data, materials, and analysis code in this field. These open research practices facilitate transparency in research, and transparency can improve the quality of learning analytics methods, improve the reliability of findings, and improve...
Article
Emphasizing the predictive success and practical utility of psychological science is an admirable goal but it will require a substantive shift in how we design research. Applied research often assumes that findings are transferable to all practices, insensitive to variation between implementations. We describe efforts to quantify and close this pra...
Article
Full-text available
While a variety of learning technologies are presently available to facilitate student-to-student peer interactions and collaborative learning online, recent research suggests that students’ opportunities to interact with their peers were significantly reduced following the abrupt transition to remote instruction due to coronavirus disease. This ra...
Preprint
Full-text available
Participants performed a categorization training task, where each trial presented an example scenario in which an individual makes a claim based on an observation, and participants marked which fallacy or bias, if any, the individual in the scenario was committing. In two studies, we measure the effect of this training task on critical thinking, me...
Article
Full-text available
In visual search tasks, physically large target stimuli are more easily identified among small distractors than are small targets among large distractors. The present study extends this finding by presenting preliminary evidence of a new search asymmetry: stimuli that symbolically represent larger magnitude are identified more easily among featural...
Article
Full-text available
Positive feedback has known benefits for improving task performance, but it is not clear why. On the one hand, positive feedback may direct attention to the task and one's motivations for having performed the task. On the other hand, positive feedback may direct attention to the task's value for achieving a future goal. This ambiguity presents a ch...
Article
Full-text available
Psychology researchers have long attempted to identify educational practices that improve student learning. However, experimental research on these practices is often conducted in laboratory contexts or in a single course, which threatens the external validity of the results. In this article, we establish an experimental paradigm for evaluating the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Emphasizing the predictive success and practical utility of psychological science is an admirable goal but it will require a substantive shift in how we design research. Applied research often assumes that findings are transferable to all practices, insensitive to variation between implementations. We describe efforts to quantify and close this pra...
Article
Full-text available
As institutions of higher education increasingly utilize online learning management systems, college students are asked to submit more assignments online. Under this regime, when most assignments are posted and submitted online, it is possible to know if a student is missing a submission for an imminent deadline, and to intervene proactively to red...
Article
Full-text available
Under normal circumstances, when students invest more effort in their schoolwork, they generally show evidence of improved academic achievement. But when universities abruptly transitioned to remote instruction in Spring 2020, instructors assigned rapidly-prepared online learning activities, disrupting the normal relationship between effort and out...
Research
This report examines the meaning and impact of the digital divide-the gap between those who can and cannot access the Internet-on college students during the COVID-19 emergency shift to remote learning. The assessment is based on several national surveys conducted in the spring or summer of 2020, as well as results from a large-scale survey the aut...
Preprint
Full-text available
To be successful in college, students need to turn in their coursework, and a known strategy for improving submission rates is to present positive feedback when students turn in their assignments. In the current study, we test competing theoretical approaches to positive feedback in a large scale field experiment (n=1,766). Using a mobile app, we a...
Article
Full-text available
This exploratory study aimed to investigate the characteristics of students who opted in to use Boost, an automated student-support mobile app, and compare them to characteristics of Boost nonusers. Boost integrates with a learning management system (Canvas) and provides support services aimed at improving student behavior and success. At the start...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
How far should the results of an A/B test be expected to generalize? The answer to this question depends on how the A/B test was designed, and particularly the nature and scale of its implementation. Some A/B tests conducted across broad and diverse samples may provide better evidence to support generalizations than others. Although A/B tests can v...
Preprint
The purpose of education research is to better understand educational phenomena to inform policy and improve practice. Forward progress within any field is based on the validity and credibility of that field’s research base - educators cannot make informed decisions based on anecdotal evidence, opaque research practices, or on studies that cannot b...
Conference Paper
Learning management system (LMS) web logs provide granular, near-real-time records of student behavior as learners interact with online course materials in digital learning environments. However, it remains unclear whether LMS activity indeed reflects behavioral properties of student engagement, and it also remains unclear how to deal with variabil...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper presents a brief discussion of "effects" and "relationships" in authentic educational contexts, and endeavors to scale-up our thinking about the meaning of these constructs. To discover the mere presence of a reliable main effect relating two variables in natural educational practice is often a feeble pursuit, for any effect might be obs...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Analyses of student data in post-secondary education should be sensitive to the fact that there are many different topics of study. These different areas will interest different kinds of students, and entail different experiences and learning activities. However, it can be challenging to identify the distinct academic themes that students might pur...
Preprint
Full-text available
Teachers use injunctive norms when telling students what they should be doing. But researchers find that sometimes descriptive norms, information about what others are doing, more powerfully influence behavior. Currently, we examine which norm is more effective at increasing self-regulated studying and performance in an online college course. We fo...
Article
Full-text available
Despite widespread assertions that enthusiasm is an important quality of effective teaching, empirical research on the effect of enthusiasm on learning and memory is mixed and largely inconclusive. To help resolve these inconsistencies, we conducted a carefully-controlled laboratory experiment, investigating whether enthusiastic instructions for a...
Article
Full-text available
Study sequence can have a profound influence on learning. In this study we investigated how students decide to sequence their study in a naturalistic context and whether their choices result in improved learning. In the study reported here, 2061 undergraduate students enrolled in an Introductory Psychology course completed an online homework tutori...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research has established that while the use of concrete, familiar examples can provide many important benefits for learning, it is also associated with some serious disadvantages, particularly in learners’ ability to recognize and transfer their knowledge to new analogous situations. However, it is not immediately clear whether this pattern w...
Article
Full-text available
Learner-centered approaches to higher education require that instructors have insight into their students' characteristics, but instructors often prepare their courses long before they have an opportunity to meet the students. To address this dilemma, we developed the institutional Student Profile Report, which informs instructors about the demogra...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral researchers are increasingly using Web-based software such as JavaScript to conduct response time experiments. Although there has been some research on the accuracy and reliability of response time measurements collected using JavaScript, it remains unclear how well this method performs relative to standard laboratory software in psychol...
Article
HAL 9000. Morpheus. Skynet. These household names demonstrate the strong cultural impact of films depicting themes in cognitive science and the potential power of popular cinema for outreach and education. Considering their wide influence, there is value to aggregating these movies and reflecting on their renderings of our field. The Cognitive Scie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes a course in introductory statistics and data analysis techniques taught thru the lens of fantasy football. The game's appeal and its natural applicability to empirical analysis sparked strong interest in topics that would otherwise be abstract and are traditionally unattractive; and evidence suggests that the course was a succe...
Article
Humans perceive a wide range of temporal patterns, including those rhythms that occur in music, speech, and movement; however, there are constraints on the rhythmic patterns that we can represent. Past research has shown that sequences in which sounds occur regularly at non-metrical locations in a repeating beat period (non-integer ratio subdivisio...
Article
Full-text available
Despite a profusion of popular misinformation about the left brain and right brain, there are functional differences between the left and right cerebral hemispheres in humans. Evidence from split-brain patients, individuals with unilateral brain damage, and neuroimaging studies suggest that each hemisphere may be specialized for certain cognitive p...
Article
Full-text available
Students often have difficulty getting past the use of folk-psychological terms (e.g., wants, loves, fears) when explaining behaviour. They assume that complex behaviours require similarly complex causal structures. For this study, the authors developed a two-week robotics project to demonstrate that complex behaviours can also emerge from simple m...
Article
Full-text available
Research in cognitive linguistics and in processing of temporal metaphors has traditionally distinguished between Moving-Ego and Moving-Time mappings: Either the Ego is construed as moving regarding fixed temporal landmarks or Time is construed as moving regarding the Ego. Both of these metaphors involve time events in reference to an Ego, which sp...
Article
Negative geotaxis, an automatic, reliable, stimulus-bound, orientation and movement directionally against gravitational cues, is often used for behavioral assessments of infant rodents. We summarize historical and contemporary analyses and conclude that negative geotaxis does not exist in infant rats. Infant rodents placed on inclined surfaces (ran...
Article
Full-text available
Infant rats (Rattus norvegicus) placed on a shallow incline (2 degrees, 4 degrees, or 8 degrees) oriented and moved downhill within 1 min; that is, they displayed positive geotaxis. Their downhill translocation increased with angle of inclination. A variety of possible behavioral elements (e.g., initial orientation, rotational movements, ambulatory...
Article
Full-text available
INTRODUCTION For studying human rhythm perception, event-related brain potentials, or ERPs, have demonstrated considerable value. ERPs are electrical fluctuations recorded from the surface of the scalp, allowing a detailed analysis of the cortical response to an event in time, such as an event in a rhythmic sequence. Recently, a handful of research...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
ManyClasses is a collaborative research project investigating the generalizability of educational interventions in real classrooms. As with similar efforts in psychology (Many Labs, Many Babies, ManyPrimates), the core feature of ManyClasses is that researchers measure an experimental effect across many independent samples – in this case, across many classes. Rather than conducting an embedded learning study in just one educational context, a ManyClasses study will examine the same research question in dozens of contexts, spanning a range of courses, institutions, formats, and student populations.
Project
Exploring the effects of real-time student support nudges within a mobile app, automatically triggered by students' learning activities. More at https://boost.education