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ERIC Number: EJ922699
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1381-2890
Epistemic Authority of Professors and Researchers: Differential Perceptions by Students from Two Cultural-Educational Systems
Hornikx, Jos
Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, v14 n2 p169-183 Jun 2011
Teachers and researchers are considered epistemic authorities that provide reliable information if that information is relevant to their discipline. Students differentiate between relevant and irrelevant disciplines when assessing teachers' expertise. In this paper, it is investigated whether students' cultural-educational background plays a role in this differentiation between relevant and irrelevant disciplines. In large power distance cultures such as France, students learn to respect and obey their teacher, whereas in smaller power distance cultures such as the Netherlands, the relationships between students and teachers are more informal. Therefore, French students may be less sensitive to the actual discipline when assessing a source's expertise. In an experiment, it was empirically tested whether French students perceived smaller differences than Dutch students between fictitious professors and researchers who put forward information that was or was not related to their own discipline. Results showed that the French participants indeed differentiated to a much lesser degree between professors and researchers with a relevant and an irrelevant discipline than did the Dutch participants. Further analyses indicated that students' obedience partially mediated this effect of nationality on the difference between relevant and irrelevant disciplines. This study underlines the role that cultural-educational background can play in the assessments of epistemic authorities. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France; Netherlands