Achieving scientific excellence: an exploratory study of the role of emotional and motivational factors

Araújo, L. and Cruz, J. and Almeida, L. (2016) Achieving scientific excellence: an exploratory study of the role of emotional and motivational factors. High Ability Studies, 27. pp. 1-19. ISSN 1359-8139 (Print) 1469-834X (Online)

Abstract

This study investigates the perceived role of psychological factors in achieving excellence in scientific research. Six outstanding scientists aged 33–42 were interviewed. Data were analyzed inductively resulting in three main dimensions: personality traits and characteristics, psychological skills and processes, and task-specific strategies. Researchers highlighted the importance of emotional factors and motivational processes to achieve and sustain scientific excellence. Flexible coping, emotion regulation, and goal setting were emphasized and described as particularly important in dealing with rejections, setbacks, and team management issues. Persistence and adaptive perfectionism were key individual characteristics which helped participants in nurturing and sustaining motivation. This study suggests that the specific impact of emotional, motivational, and other psychological skills at different stages of excellence development is relevant; yet, further investigation is needed.

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