How can children, adolescents and young adults improve their skills in self-evaluation and self-regulation? How can they augment their problem-solving skills? How do self-regulated leisure activities affect individual beliefs, especially control beliefs and self-efficacy beliefs? And how can our knowledge on such effects of self-regulated behavior on individual self-efficacy inspire field interventions with the aim of empowerment? These questions are at the heart of several third-party funded research projects on (a) empowerment and cultural participation (b) empowerment, action-regulation and problem solving:

Empowerment and Cultural Participation

Several of our projects with a focus on empowerment study a broad range of cultural leisure activities that are often neglected by educational large-scale studies. These activities include musicking (in elementary and secondary students) painting, writing and sports.

Empowerment, Action Regulation and Problem Solving

The projects of this research point focus on cross-curricular effects at the interface of intelligence, personality and action-regulation. We study the interplay of cognitive abilities including working memory, the intelligence, and problem-solving strategies, personality traits including the big five and dispositional aspects of self-regulation. Regarding the targeted populations, our projects cover a wide age range from primary school age  to emerging adulthood.

Recent developments in digitization may be seen as threats, however, they also provide the opportunity to foster a positive relationship of people with their communities (place attachment) via participatory regional development. This may be particularly positive for sustainable development of rural areas at risk of demographic decline. The project’s aim is to synthesize, systematize and analyse Europe-wide examples of ‘good practice’ related to digital strategies and instruments on this issue. These examples will be compiled, resulting in an orientation framework that is being made available in the form of a digital toolbox for further use in regional development.

The research questions are: how can digitization contribute to a positive interpretation of rural areas or rural identification? How can the potential of digitization be used for participatory regional development? In particular, how can place attachment be strengthened? And how may contributors only digitally present be involved? How can place attachment counter depopulation and migration? And how can digital tools be used to successfully address pivotal challenges of rural regions such as brain drain and youth drain? Which strategies have already been successfully pursued based on such questions? What criteria of good practice for participatory digital regional development result from examples available in Europe?

By addressing these questions, the project will provide a deeper insight into patterns and processes of place attachment in times of digitization and demographic change. At the same time, it provides a toolbox for the target-oriented design of programs for rural regions. Given the lower carbon footprint of rural populations, this also contributes to sustainable development.


Many women in Germany are single parents, unemployed and without a well-founded professional qualification. How can their quality of life be improved, and at the same time, their professional integration achieved? How can they get involved in processes of empowerment?
In a design-based research (DBR) project, we are evaluating and accompanying an intervention aimed at this target group, sponsored by the European Social Fund (ESF)...

How can practical music performance competencies and accompanying activity-related behavioral, normative, and control beliefs be diagnosed? How may beliefs and competencies be fostered by interventions featuring education in music? And how do the participants experience these interventions?
Two sub-projects investigated these questions. In the sub-project at FAU, we focused on the development and implementation of a musical education intervention with the aim of fostering musical leisure activities.
In field experiments, we implemented different versions to assess the impact of various design features on behavioral outcomes...

Category: Empowerment, Research

Musical activities are an important aspect of cultural participation, however, quantitative-empirical studies of determinants of musical activities in primary school age are rare.
This interdisciplinary project focuses on determinants of musical activities in primary school students based on the theory of planned behavior.
The project addresses effects of (a) the intrinsic value of musical activities as an aspect of attitude (“joy of playing a musical instrument”), (b) the musical affinity of parents and friends as aspects of the subjective norm and (c) the musical self-concept as the subjective perception of the own musical competencies in terms of the perceived behavioral control....

Category: Empowerment, Research

To which extent do primary school children with and without a migratory background use reading and writing competencies as well as artistic-creative competencies that they have acquired in school in their leisure time? Which behavioral, normative, and control beliefs  predict the extent of leisure reading, writing and artistic-creative activities?
The aim of the proposed project is a longitudinal study of these questions. Effects of beliefs, gender and socio-economic status are studied on an individual level. Features of quality of instruction are added on class level.
The results of the project are meant to serve as a starting point for the development of measures to support reading, writing and artistic-creative design as leisure activity...

Category: Empowerment, Research

Today, a large number of children and adolescents show deficits in terms of motor-coordination competences. A possible reason is the lower extent of physical activities compared to former generations.
Although elementary school age is probably pivotal for establishing habits related to physical activities, this has rarely been studied previously.
Starting from the theory of planned behavior, suitable scales were developed and piloted.
These scales have been applied in a large-scale longitudinal study on determinants and effects of physical activities in primary school children...


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