City Research Online

Hans Eysenck, education and the experimental approach: A meta-analysis of academic capabilities in university students

Braithwaite, R. & Corr, P. J. (2016). Hans Eysenck, education and the experimental approach: A meta-analysis of academic capabilities in university students. Personality and Individual Differences, 103, pp. 163-171. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.040


Hans Eysenck had a long-established interest in the influence of individual differences on educational attainment, noting that typically personality traits and cognitive abilities are ignored in debates regarding educational policy and practice. Eysenck's general scientific approach emphasized the importance of applying an experimental approach to answering social questions. Inspired by this perspective, in this article, we conducted a meta-analysis of the literature on (largely quasi) experimental intervention studies (N = 47, with 49 independent samples) aimed at enhancing mainly self-efficacy and self-confidence in order to influence a range of academic outcomes in university students (N = 5771). Results revealed small-to-moderate, but statistically significant, positive effects across all the outcome domains examined. There was little evidence for moderation of these effects, with quality of the study intervention the only one statistically significant (lower quality studies showing the largest effect sizes). Although our analysis shows the paucity of purely experimental studies in higher education research, the results are sufficiently clear to suggest that the study of individual differences variables are relevant in educational design and instruction. This is something Hans Eysenck told us to expect.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Self-efficacy; Student confidence; University; Capabilities; Economics; Experimental intervention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Braithwaite et al Blind.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (1MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence]
Text (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence) - Other
Download (201kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login