Käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Berg, Venla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Recently, personality variation has been found to be associated with number of offspring, pace of reproduction, and other components of fitness in humans and other animals. The link between personality and fitness has inspired a surge of theoretical accounts on the evolution of personality. However, the associations between personality and fitness are yet to be sufficiently empirically elaborated for the theoretical advances to be solidly based. This thesis explores the pathways between personality and fertility in three contemporary Western human populations. Specifically, this thesis i) provides further evidence on the phenotypic associations between personality and lifetime reproductive success; ii) examines the differences between a phenotypic and genetic approach to natural selection on personality; iii) investigates whether personality is involved in a trade-off between the number and quality of offspring; and iv) explores possible novel selection pressures on personality. The results are discussed in relation to the theoretical accounts on the evolution of personality. The results suggest that the phenotypic associations between personality and lifetime reproductive success vary by populations. Further, it seems that the phenotypic and genetic approaches to natural selection on personality differ and that modern environments can impose novel selection pressures on personality. Lastly, it seems that personality is similarly associated with number of children and grandchildren, implying no quality quantity trade-offs in modern environments. Crucially, the results show that personality is not associated with fitness in any one way, or because of any one evolutionary mechanism. Further, the results suggest that the behavioural personality differences might not be evolutionarily relevant, but that personality correlates genetically with something else that affects fitness. Thus, future studies should concentrate on the individual personality traits and their genetic correlates, as trying to find a unified evolutionary answer for personality may prove an elusive task.
  • Heilala, Cecilia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    During WWII a total of 48,628 Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden and placed into temporary foster care. Previous studies have mainly focused on the long-term consequences on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. The results are ambiguous and there is not enough convincing evidence to conclude that the evacuation led to mental morbidity or increased the risk of mortality. However, it could be assumed that the early separation trauma had some consequences affecting the quality of life of the evacuees, and that it would be valuable to define this pattern of unspecific symptoms. The objective of this thesis was to analyze the effects of the evacuation on later-life outcomes such as educational attainment, social status, psychosocial wellbeing, mental health problems and substance abuse. The sample consisted of 887 evacuees and 1,748 non-evacuees and was collected from four different sources: the Finnish National Archives, the Population Register Central Finland, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and by a survey. The results show that becoming a war child was not random: the evacuees came from families with a lower socioeconomic status, which must be taken into account when estimating the effects of the evacuation. The atmosphere in most of the foster homes was good, and they were generally affluent. The return to Finland was difficult for many evacuees due to the loss of their mother tongue, Finnish. However, the quality of the atmosphere of the home of origin was a factor that cannot be ruled out when evaluating the consequences of the evacuation. The thesis further shows that evacuees had a higher rate of substance abuse and a lower sense of coherence (SOC), but did not have more problems related to psychosocial wellbeing or mental health than non-evacuees. However, problems related to experienced emotions such as loss of confidence, detachment and/or rootlessness, as well as unworthiness and/or rejection, were expressed. The results show that even long-term separation from one's parents during childhood must be understood as representing a developmental context that makes the emergence of problems either less likely or more likely, depending on other risk and protective factors.
  • Bona, Silvia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This thesis investigates the causal role of two extra-striate visual regions, the lateral occipital (LO) cortex and the occipital face area (OFA), in certain visual processes. Firstly, I examined whether these areas are causally implicated in the perception of bilateral visual symmetry. Despite the ubiquitous presence of this feature in the external world, the neural basis underlying its detection is not fully known. In Studies I and II,this issue was explored by disrupting the activity of LO and OFA with fMRI-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) while participants discriminated between symmetric and nonsymmetric dot configurations and between perfectly symmetric and normal (i.e. somewhat non symmetric) faces. The results showed that rightOFA plays a causal role in detection of symmetry in both configurations of dots and faces whereas LO exclusively in the former, with the rightLO showing greater involvement relative to the homologous region in the left hemisphere. As symmetry is extracted in a holistic manner (i.e. through a parallel global analysis of the stimulusrather than via a serial point-by-point comparisonof the local elements), Study III examined whether rightOFA is involved, more generally, in visual detection based on holistic encoding and, if so, whether its role is restricted to faces or extends also to non-face stimuli. To examine this issue, rightOFA and rightLO were stimulated with fMRI-guided TMS meanwhile participants were asked to detect Mooney faces and non-face images, a class of stimuli which are known to be perceived through holistic processes. The results showed that rightOFA is causally involved in detection of both Mooney faces and objects. Taken together, this thesis sheds new light on the functions of LO and OFA in visual perception. Firstly, it demonstrates that both of these regions are causally involved in holistic processes, including detection of symmetry. Secondly, it is shownthat OFA s role in holistic processing extends to both face and non-face stimuli, suggesting that this region is not strictly face-selective.
  • Ikävalko, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation focuses on the practices of gender equality work by analysing gender equality planning (GEP) processes in upper secondary educational institutions, both general and vocational. Its aim is to analyse the practices included in gender equality work, which may, regardless of the expressed goals, have un-equalizing consequences. Different techniques of promoting equality are not neutral because they define possible ways to understand gender and equality. The study asks what consequences instumentalized gender equality work has for educational institutions and workplaces; how the power relations function in an equality working group of a educational institution; what opportunities for agency arise for teachers and students in gender equality work; and what opportunities are offered by the drifting, nomadic approach to feminist research on gender equality work. The dissertation includes five articles and a summary chapter. The study is framed within the critical studies of gender equality politics, studies of governmentality, feminist studies of educational practices and poststructuralist methodological discussion. The methodological approach of the study is nomadic and discursive reading. The research data consist of interviews in educational institutions that had drawn up their gender equality plans, recorded meetings of equality working groups of a vocational institution and an general upper secondary school, ethnographical notes from the group meetings and interviews with the members of the groups. In addition, it contains two national surveys (2009 and 2011) about GEP in upper secondary educational institutions. In the case of the GEP in workplaces, the correctives of the gender equality act and the project form of GEP turns equality work into managerialist practices, which produce a quantified, statistically controllable and instumentalized understanding of equality. This is why gender equality does not easily become a political question within the practices of GEP. The study shows that the subject of GEP is expected to remain positive and have faith in its good-spirited co-operation, but on the other hand accept the fact that too many reformations cannot be demanded too quickly. In the case of the operational GEP, the guidelines emphasize the importance of the student s involvement in the process of GEP and the need for equality-skilled workers in the labour market. At the same time the discourse of GEP has not invited students to participate. The participation of students is done according to a ready-made model, which is not organized nor planned by the students themselves. The student is not the one who starts to create and shape the ways in which to put equality work into action in educational institution. She is involved and made a part of the equality planning model . Working against the individualism of managerialist discourses, the equality working groups can offer sites for feminist resistance in the form of a sense of community. If the need to produce the paper (the gender equality plan) is put aside, new knowledge can be generated and shared through discussion. The group s co-operation is a form of resistance to managerialist practices in gender equality work that attach the activity to the individual. The paradox of feminist resistance in the context of GEP is that while the separateness of the working group may give a sense of autonomy to its members, it keeps the feminist demands unconnected from the everyday practices of educational institutions. In the equality working group, the possibilities to refuse to undertake the tasks at hand and become a target of persuasion form the positionings for the working group members. The different possibilities to produce speech or silence in the group are analysed as an effect of power relations in the group. The becomings of the researcher and the chair of the working group occur as mutual dependence and as ever-arising possibilities between these becomings. The study suggests that the concept of a rhizome could open up new ways to consider the multidirectional change in the context of equality work. From the nomadic drifting approach research is not intended to speak on behalf of others or to resettle in others position, but to acknowledge and recognize the current positionings and create alliances together.
  • Layne, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study consists of four individual case studies on interculturality in Finnish education (Dervin, 2011; Dervin, Gajardo and Lavanchy, 2011). Central to this study are the different forms, experiences, discourses and conceptualizations of interculturality in education and, how they asymmetrically participate in constructing and re-constructing intercultural education as a contact zone (Pratt,1991, 1992). Pratt's (1991) contact zone theory applied to education sees the intercultural classroom as a social space where people meet, clash, and struggle with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power(Pratt, 1991, p. 6). In this study the theory of contact zones (Pratt, 1991, 1992) is used as a social and political space (problematizing the presence of otherness considered as a disruptive force in Finnish education), and as an ideological framework to study interculturality at different levels of education in Finland, namely higher education, teacher education and basic education. By ideological I refer to a postcolonial approach that guides my study on investigating the experiences and discourses taking place and (re)producing intercultural education in this context. The aim of this study is to apply a postcolonial theoretical approach to intercultural education in Finland. I use postcolonial theories as an umbrella field, and problematize how the colonial history of Finland relates to and introduces the idea of intercultural education. The notion of intersectionality also helps me to understand how different dimensions (social class, race, language hierarchies, equality vs. justice, gender etc.) interact in the contact zones of interculturality and education. The four separate but interrelated studies included in this dissertation are: discussing hostipitality in higher education; contact zones in teacher education; the presentation of binary opposites in learning material and, in the last article, the theory of contact zone is studied in practice though a good case of successful contact zone in basic education. This study is qualitative in nature, concentrating on an understanding and problematizing of different aspects and layers of interculturality in education such as internationalization and intercultural education and contact zones. Different methods for data collection and analysis were applied. My PhD study also makes explicit the researcher s personal position in the field of study as well as professional development as a researcher in the choice of methods. The results discuss 1. the different dimensions of contact zones in relation to intercultural education; 2. the new idea of Finnishness, where race is central; 3. the methods to unpack whiteness as a social construct (i.e. de-colonizing methods for intercultural education in the Finnish context). These dimensions can be used as means to analyze intercultural education.
  • Juntunen, Pirkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This thesis introduces and explores a new aural based approach for play-together education of first- and second-grade string instrument students in music school. The research problems are to create a music technology based teaching method and to study violin and play-together learning in the context of music technological applications. The theoretical background is based on new learning environments, blended learning and flipped classroom in music education. In this recent method, Playback Orchestra, the students practice their part with the support of an audio of the full score, in most cases the playback of a notation program. Hearing the audio supports learning the harmony, rhythm, and dynamic changes. The learning situation is a kind of a virtual play-together rehearsal: it is essential that playing continues without stopping at mistakes, which are corrected afterwards. The method is a learning by doing approach and the flow-like practicing strategy develops flexibility, which is essential in play-together situations. The Playback Orchestra method was tested with first (N=10) and second (N=4) grade string instrument students of a music school with a quasi-experimental study design. The test group (playback group) practiced a score with the support of an audio and the control group (no playback group) without it. The aim was to find out if there were differences between study groups in learning. The first research question was: which playing skills possibly benefit from the audio background, the performance as a whole, understanding the atmosphere, style and general structure of the music, right and left hand technique, reading the score, or play-together skills. The second research question was concerned with learning improvisation: does the audio background support starting the improvisation decisively, continuing it intensively and logically, finding and maintaining the flow and atmosphere, finding own ideas and showing independence and joy of playing, using relaxed movements and creating a general structure in the improvisation. Two professional violin teachers evaluated the play performances from video before and after a practice period and the quantitative analysis was made with SPSS 22 using general linear model and linear mixed model, which can be applied for small study groups. The results showed that when the piece of music to be learned was a main melody of a chamber music composition, the playback group had learned faster than the other group essential features connected with understanding the musical content: the style and atmosphere and the general structure of the music. The playback group had learned musical communication and leading a group by playing better than the no playback group. This finding was significant in large numbers. Concerning the instrument specific technique, audio background seemed not to have clear beneficial effects. However, the students learned to use singing bow style when practicing with the support of a CD track from film music better than without it, the difference was significant in large numbers. When the score to be learned was in baroque style, expressing terrace dynamics , an essential feature of the genre, benefited from the audio background in significant numbers. The improvisation study was a by-product when testing the learning of a musical tale with many sections in different keys, playing styles and atmospheres. The improvisation task was to describe storm by playing. The results showed that musical story telling in improvisation passage benefited from practicing the musical tale with the playback support. Because the study groups were small, the results cannot be widely generalised. However, the aural based approach seems to create a good basis for learning deep understanding of musical content. Further, because learning is fast, using the Playback Orchestra method makes possible for instrument teachers to create well-working play-together culture with large repertoires. The pedagogy of music institutions at its best includes both traditional and new learning environments, such as blended learning. New technological applications can benefit playing and play-together skills and lead to richer musical expression and joy of playing. More research and open-mindedness is needed in order to the new ways of thinking, using and developing new tools could be included in the curricula of music institutions. In this way using the traditional methods together with new approaches the appreciated Finnish music education system can develop and offer even better quality of education. ________________________________________ Keywords: string instrument education, orchestra teaching in music schools, technology-based music education, new music learning envi-ronments, blended learning
  • Nieminen, Eeva-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In this study, students' discourse of science learning is explored with a special focus on interest in learning. The research group is an optional science class. The data consist of 20 interviews. The entire collection of interviews served as data for searching discourses, which further led to closer case studies. A portrait of the class is created, first searching dominant discourses and then taking a closer look at students who exemplify influential discourses contributing to interest generation in the whole class. The research starts from individual narratives and follows the idea of Roth and Lucas (1997) that individuals belonging to a community represent the discourses of that community. Qualitative content analysis is used inductively to trace categories, which represent the interpretive repertoires of the students. By further abstraction, the latent contents of these discourses are abstracted to more general concepts in order to find recurrent patterns. Eventually, based on the created concepts and then deductively drawing on the theoretical models of Vygotsky, interest development, self-regulation and affective neuroscience, a model of the students interest generation is formed. The science class context offers the students possibilities to make choices. Students experience a feeling of succeeding when they understand the subject contents. This, in turn, creates a zeal for school and learning. Interest in learning seems to derive from a desire to succeed in life; a constant search for that which is new, exciting and fun; picking one's own handbag of choices; taking one's own action and feeling success; interest in the subject; and togetherness and identification with the science class. From the students' experiences, a twofold image appears: students like projects, practical work and other student-centred methods, but they are not considered superior to the traditional teacher explanation, which in itself promotes understanding, leading to a feeling of succeeding. A clear division between students appears: those who expect firm teacher guidance and those who prefer independent working. Belonging to a special class reinforces self-regulation. I construct a pattern, a pyramid of learning, where emotions, play and fun along with togetherness form the foundation for motivation. Learning and gaining experience contribute to increasing independence and the mastery of situations. One's own effort, attention and concentration make it possible to advance in learning and independence. The degree of teacher involvement needed depends on the individual student's position on this pyramid: on the bottom, more control and teacher guidance are needed, whereas students situated on the top of the pyramid are able to work on their own. Through a process of development aided by cultural and social influence, the students move in steps from bottom to top on the pyramid. These students are searching for their identities, picking up what is useful for them and building a set of knowledge and skills within the limits the school. I identify the science class as a community of the practice of science, where the how-aspect of science is conveyed from the science community through its practices and artefacts and is embraced and developed further by students through their social relations and communication. Keywords: science education, interest, discourse, interpretive repertoire, zest, enthusiasm, community of practice, identity, seeking
  • Kauranen, Tatu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The global burden of stroke is huge and increasing despite significant improvements in acute stroke care in recent decades. The indirect costs, such as productivity losses due to patients inability to return to work after stroke, are a major factor in the accumulation of this burden and are estimated to outweigh the direct costs of stroke. Post-stroke cognitive impairments seem to relate intimately to functional outcomes and quality of life after stroke, but their role in the creation of strokerelated productivity losses remains uncertain. The aim of this study was threefold: to compare the prevalence and severity of post-stroke cognitive impairments in relation to the severity of clinical neurological impairments; to specify the role of cognitive impairments in patients ability to return to work after stroke; and to assess the use of stroke-related income supplements and the role of cognitive impairments in supplement use. A consecutive cohort of 230 working-aged patients with a first-ever ischaemic stroke was enrolled in two Finnish hospitals. The patients underwent repeated neuropsychological assessments in order to describe their cognitive sequelae. Cognitive data from baseline, six-month and two-year follow-up examinations were analysed in relation to demographic, clinical and occupational information on the patients. Cognitive impairments were defined based on the performance of a healthy demographic control group (N =50). Cognitive impairments frequently appeared among otherwise intact patients. After taking into account other relevant factors, baseline cognitive impairments most effectively predicted the return to work of the patients six months after the stroke. Regarding the use of stroke-related income supplements, atrial fibrillation was the most effective health-related predictor, and cognitive impairments the most effective stroke-related predictor. The results of the study emphasize the usefulness of early neuropsychological assessments in treatment planning and the importance of cognitive impairments in the accumulation of post-stroke productivity losses.
  • Kaipio, Marja-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Abstract In the present thesis, auditory event-related brain potentials (ERPs), mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a, were used to investigate involuntary attention shifting, that is, distractibility in people with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and healthy controls. In passive oddball paradigms, the participants either watched a silent movie (Studies II, III and IV) or concentrated on a visuomotor task (Study I) to ensure that their attention was directed away from the stimuli. Abnormal distractibility in TBI patients was suggested in Study I by an enhanced late portion of the P3a amplitude to unattended unexpected novel environmental sounds with the participants concentrating on a continuous visuomotor task. In Study II, the healthy controls successfully ignored background speech stimuli when watching a silent movie, whereas the patients enhanced P3a amplitudes revealed their inability to exclude the meaningless deviances of these semisynthetic speech stimuli. In Study IV, hyperexcitability of the MMN, suggesting excessively reactive involuntary attention mechanisms and abnormal distractibility, was found in patients with no abnormalities detected by conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. These MMN and P3a findings elucidate on the neurophysiological level ~150–300 milliseconds from the onset of the deviant auditory stimuli, a phenomenon described by TBI patients as the excessive intrusion of meaningless background noises and sounds from everyday surroundings. Moreover, Study III gave neurophysiological evidence for a fast vigilance decrement in TBI patients, reflected by a significant MMN amplitude decline during an hour-long experiment. This amplitude decline not present in controls was found both in patients with and without neuroradiological abnormalities. The patients did not exhibit significant latency delays for MMN or P3a in Studies I to IV. The present MMN and P3a findings indicate overly sensitive involuntary attention shifting, that is, abnormal distractibility in TBI. Distractibility was found in both patients with cerebral MRI/computerized tomography (CT) abnormalities and patients without neuroradiological abnormalities on conventional MRI. The fast vigilance decrement suggested by the MMN amplitude decline was found similarly in patients with and without neuroradiological abnormalities.
  • Kivistö, Kati (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The Finnish input in the UN peacekeeping operations has been historically significant. Finland's knowhow obtained during 60 years of participation in peacekeeping operations is internationally renowned. The Finnish participation in the operations is based on the willingness of volunteering civilians taking part in the peacekeeping activities. The aim of the present study is to provide information to be used in the recruitment of peacekeepers, as reference for those seeking to engage in peacekeeping, and for the advancement of training for peacekeepers. The thesis addresses how Finnish citizens get involved with peacekeeping, the signif-icance given to working as a peacekeeper, and the key areas of focus as seen through the challenges of peacekeeper training. The thesis approaches its subject via realistic constructivism. The assignment was to form a conclusion regarding the motivation for becoming a peacekeeper, the significance attached to working as a peacekeeper, and the key challenges in peacekeeper training to be used in developing the process. The material used in the thesis is built using the narratives of 30 peacekeepers. The source of the material is interviews conducted twice during the service year of each inter-viewee taking part in the UNIFIL operation. The material has been analysed using qualitative content analysis. The study reveals several motivational reasons for becoming a peacekeeper. In the results of this study is created three type stories of peacekeepers narratives of becoming a peacekeeper. The basis of successful peacekeeping operations is the availability of peacekeepers who have as realistic view as possible of the nature of peace-keeping work, and who are psychologically steady. This is crucial to note already during the process of recruitment. The nature of the peacekeepers individual experiences in the operations is reflected as different meanings given to working as a peacekeeper. The inter-viewees also commented on the everyday challenges of being a peacekeeper and the importance of recognizing those aspects of the job in peacekeeper training in order to enable as high possibilities of completing the job as possible. The study reveals new perspectives into the motivation, professional significance and training of Finnish peacekeepers. The study shows that peacekeepers face many challenges in the process of aiming to complete their work according to the goals of the peacekeeping operation. It is at least partially possible to address the issues recognized as challening already during the process of peacekeeper training. Further studies related to the experiences of peacekeepers are required in order to develop the actions of organizations working in crisis management and peacekeeping.
  • Hahl, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation examines factors that distinguish an international English-medium instruction (EMI) teacher education programme from mainstream teacher education programmes. International teacher education is understood in this study as a transdisciplinary programme that is taught in English as a lingua franca (ELF) and that admits both international and domestic students. The students thus originate from different backgrounds and they are not all familiar with the local school system. The programme is mostly taught by teacher educators educated in the local context. This study explores student teachers and teacher educators conceptions and experiences of and adjustment to multiculturalism and English as a lingua franca in a Finnish university context. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the roles that these factors play in implementing an international subject teacher education programme within the context of local (teacher) education. This PhD study consists of five separate but interrelated studies that together form a more holistic picture of the phenomena studied. The five sub-studies examine the phenomena from different perspectives and aim at highlighting issues that are important for programme development. The sub-studies use various data collection methods: interviews, focus groups, student course work, questionnaires, and an excerpt from a recorded lecture. The data analysis methods consist of discursive pragmatics, thematic analysis and qualitative content analysis. As its theoretical contribution this study weaves together the four factors of internationalization, interculturality (including the inclusion of immigrant teachers in local schools as an intercultural phenomenon), transdisciplinarity and English as a lingua franca, and conceptualizes their interrelations. On the one hand, this study reveals the complexity of constructing an international teacher education programme. On the other hand, the study provides a model for supporting teaching and learning in the context of international, transdiscipinary teacher education in order for it to serve the needs and demands of today s students, teachers, institutions and societies.
  • Rajala, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Despite the immense stability of the social structure of schooling, recent social, economic, and technological developments are widening the gap between schools and the surrounding societies so much as to challenge the foundations of public education. Conventional educational practices are hard-pressed to deal with the challenges that contemporary knowledge societies pose for learning and education as lifelong and lifewide processes. This dissertation project is about my journey as a teacher, researcher, and teacher educator to develop a pedagogical model for expanding the context of school learning to engage with students lives and the wider society. My argument draws upon the analyses of three data sources. The backbone of the dissertation study is a retrospective analysis of the video data collected from my own pedagogical practice as a primary school teacher. As a teacher, I intended to bridge the gap between the students personal worlds and the world of school and to promote their agency and personal sensemaking. Together with my coauthors, I engaged in a critical analysis of my pedagogical practices. These analyses contribute to the agency-centered pedagogical model that I outline in this summary. To enrich the pedagogical model, I build on the analyses of two datasets in which I am not myself involved as a participant. The first is derived from an innovative upper secondary school project that aimed to develop stu- dents citizenship and agency by involving them in efforts to influence local political decision-making concerning cycling. The second concerns a literature review of pedagogical approaches that sought to expand the context of school learning to students lives and the wider society. I draw upon a sociocultural and activity-theoretical conceptual framework for the study of learning and education. I posit a transformative ontology that not only focuses on how individuals are enculturated into existing social practice through participation but emphasizes how individuals contribute to the transformation of the norms, discourses, and forms of activity of their communities. Thus, learning is a contested process that inevitably involves a struggle over what counts as knowledge and whose knowledge counts. In particular, I build on the theory of expansive learning and the concepts of context, agency, and personal sense. The empirical data consist primarily of video-recorded classroom interac- tions. These data were analyzed with micro-level interaction analysis. In addition, I analyzed interviews of teachers and students as well as documents. The findings of this dissertation study underline that a broad definition of pedagogy is needed to study and design pedagogical approaches for expanding the context of school learning. Moreover, they show how pedagogical features that do so make specific forms of agency available to students. Furthermore, they illuminate the tensions and challenges that emerge for students and teachers when the context of school learning is expanded. Based on these findings, I present an outline of the agency-centered pedagogical model that has the following features: (a) building a pedagogy on the foundation of students personal sense and agency, (b) connecting instruction to activity systems and expert communities outside school, (c) mastering the institutional context of public schools, and (d) pedagogy as a continuing journey. This dissertation study is timely from the perspective of current educational policy in Finland. In August of 2016, Finland will start to implement the new National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (FNBE, 2014), which explicitly encourages teachers to experiment with student-centered pedagogies and to take learning out of the classroom. In this study, my coauthors and I have analyzed two empirical cases that can be regarded as realizations of the recent Finnish educational policies which have culminated in the new national core curriculum. Overall, this dissertation study argues for an approach, which does not in- volve excessive control and assessment of students, to address the challenges that knowledge societies pose to public education. Instead, a basic premise of this approach is that teachers and students are seen as contributors to educational change. The study concludes with suggestions for avenues of further research addressing the consequences of agency-centered pedagogy for students development. In addition, the study raises new research questions about the development of instructional practices in schools and beyond.
  • Valtonen, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Cognitive representations are constructed internally of events and objects in the outside world. The exact nature of these representations, however, is not fully understood. Studies of cognitive deficits, electromagnetic recordings of brain activity and functional neuroimaging provide complementary means for investigating these representations and their neural basis at multiple levels of analysis. This thesis combined experimental data collected using multiple methods to study cognitive representations and their neural basis in visual information processing and memory. The aim of the thesis was both to collect new empirical evidence to inform current theories of vision and memory, and to use these studies to discuss methodological issues in cognitive neuroscience. The thesis consists of four empirical studies. Studies I-II investigated how spatial information about the orientation of objects is represented in the visual system. Study I was conducted with an individual with a cognitive impairment in visual processing, patient BC. Experimental results from BC showed that spatial orientation is represented compositionally in the visual system, such that the direction of a line orientation s tilt from a vertical mental reference meridian is coded independently of the magnitude of angular displacement. Further, the cognitive locus of impairment suggested that these representations are maintained at a supra-modal level. Based on experimental evidence from BC and other patients with cognitive deficits in spatial processing, a theoretical framework, the co-ordinate system hypothesis of orientation representation (COR), was proposed in Study II for interpreting orientation errors. Studies III-IV investigated the neural basis for the acquisition of new memory representations in the brain. The medial temporal lobe (MTL) is known to be crucial for declarative memory, but how other brain areas outside the MTL interact to support the construction of new memory representations is not fully understood. Study III investigated new memory acquisition in an amnesic individual, LSJ, who has suffered extensive bilateral MTL damage, including the near-complete destruction of the hippocampus. The results showed that non-hippocampal structures can support acquisition of new long-term memory representations in a context cognitively more complex than has previously been demonstrated. Study IV investigated memory acquisition in neurologically healthy adults using whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG). The results showed that during the acquisition of declarative-memory representations, the feature analysis systems in different sensory modalities interact at a level as early as that of the sensory cortices. Together, the results of Studies III and IV demonstrate that several different non-hippocampal and non-MTL structures interact with the MTL/hippocampal memory system at multiple processing levels to support acquisition of memory representations in the intact human brain. Methodological questions about converging evidence and multiple levels of analysis in cognitive neuroscience are discussed in light of the four empirical studies.
  • Kuusisaari, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Modern-day society is strongly individualistic in its way of acknowledging success as an accomplishment of an individual contributor. However, the amount of knowledge and sources of knowledge have become so vast that gathering, comprehending and processing all the available knowledge alone has become an insurmountable challenge. To respond to this challenge, individuals would do well to pool their skills and thoughts as peers and to collaborate in order to achieve and develop new knowledge together. Consequently, it is also important to understand how we create knowledge with equal peers and how to arrange a process of collaborative knowledge creation. Nevertheless, in the field of education research, research focusing more on the collaborative process of knowledge creation among adult peer groups is scarce. This study focuses on the collaborative knowledge creation of three teacher teams during the first session of an in-service education course. The theoretical grounds for the study are based on Vygotsky’s concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD). In this study, the main aspects of ZPD are collaboration, the interconnection between everyday practices and theoretical knowledge, and the goal of change and new knowledge creation. The study applies ZPD to adult learning, namely teacher collaboration, by focusing on peer-to-peer collaboration. Homes and society at large – including its trends and advances in education and psychology – provide new knowledge and place new demands on learning and teaching. To help teachers to develop their teaching according to the demands of the 2004 curriculum, an in-service education course was organised for home economics teachers. The in-service education aimed to help teachers to learn and create new knowledge and teaching practices. The research data for this study came from video recordings of the teachers’ group discussions held during the in-service education session. The research method developed for this study was a data-driven, systematic qualitative analysis of the content of the discussion. The analysis focused on the developing talk and on finding interconnections between method-developing talk and theories of learning with respect to developing new teaching methods. Furthermore, the analysis focused on how the quality of collaboration related to the success of the teams’ development processes. The analysis showed that one of the teams successfully created new knowledge and was considered to progress in the ZPD. Analysis of the differences in the teams’ collaborative actions showed the patterns of collaborative actions to either support or hinder development. Comparison of the more successful team’s collaboration trajectory to the less successful teams’ collaboration trajectories revealed that the successful team’s collaboration consisted of developing ideas further, based on the new learning theories. The successful team also challenged and questioned the new ideas it had developed, and reified them from time to time to develop them further. The other, less successful, teams’ collaboration trajectories showed that they either suppressed the development of new ideas or simply accepted the presented ideas as they were without developing them further. The research results indicate that the concept of ZPD is applicable in describing the development process of teacher (adult) teams. New knowledge was created, as defined in this study, through developmental collaboration, which this study defines as a theory-based further development of ideas and as questioning and reifying ideas in symmetrical peer-to-peer collaboration. The results indicate that equals are able to support creative collaboration, as the successful team organised itself to create new knowledge. Nevertheless, peer-to-peer collaboration may also prove difficult, as the other teams’ results demonstrate. Because of these differences between the teams, the results also highlight a need for further development in arranging this type of in-service education in order to enable all teams to learn to create new knowledge successfully. Finally, this study sheds light on how to arrange a collaborative knowledge-creation process among professionals in a peer-to-peer setting.
  • Airaksinen, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Differences in well-being between neighborhoods have long been recognized. These inequalities have been explained by neighborhood effects, in other words characteristics of the neighborhoods that affect well-being. However, the direction of causality in neighborhood effects is still unknown. This dissertation examines whether inequalities in well-being between neighborhoods are caused by neighborhood characteristics social causation, or by selective residential mobility social selection. The participants in these studies were from the ongoing prospective longitudinal population-based Young Finns study. The aims of this study were: 1) to examine whether neighborhood urbanicity and socioeconomic status affected health behaviors, depressive symptoms and source of social support, and 2) to examine how those variables affect residential mobility behavior. The results suggest that people in more urban and affluent neighborhoods are more interested in their health. However, simultaneously those people drink more alcohol, and also people in more urban areas smoke more. People in more rural areas received more social support from their family, whereas people in more urban areas received more social support from their friends. While part of the results were explained by social causation, most of the effects were attributed to social selection. People who received more social support from their friends were more likely to move and to move more frequently. Also, people with better health behaviors moved longer distances. None of the individual level variables were associated with selective residential mobility between municipalities. This dissertation addressed the problem of causality in neighborhood effects. The findings do give some support for social causation in neighborhood effects, but most of the effects are explained by social selection. However, the results also imply that health behaviors or social support do not affect selective residential mobility. Therefore, it is likely that some other individual level variables govern selective residential mobility and the forming of differences in well-being between neighborhoods.