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Aug 21 2008

Domains of Learning and the MCAT-The Affective Domain


Author: Dr. James L Flowers
Category: MCAT Prep Tips

The pertinent literature makes it clear the MCAT is pretty good at predicting early medical school success, only fair to poor at predicting late medical school success and virtually worthless in predicting success as a physician (Evolution of the MCAT, Validity of MCAT). 

Beginning in the late 1940’s an extensive effort was undertaken to try to classify education goals and objectives and how learning occurs. This effort resulted in three domains (or see domain details) of how students learn. How do these relate to the MCAT and the prediction of who will become a successful physician? 

Now, lets focus on the Affective Domain.

The Affective Domain includes the manner in which one deals with activities, objects or others emotionally. The emotional arena includes your feelings, values, appreciations, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes. There are five dimensions (listed from the simplest to the most complex):

1.  Receiving Phenomena(Awareness, willingness to hear, selected attention),

2.  Responding to Phenomena(Active participation on the part of the learners. Attends and reacts to a particular phenomenon.  Learning outcomes may emphasize compliance in responding, willingness to respond, or satisfaction in responding (motivation)),

3.  Valuing(The worth or value a person attaches to a particular object, phenomenon, or behavior. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more complex state of commitment. Valuing is based on the internalization of a set of specified values, while clues to these values are expressed in the learner’s overt behavior and are often identifiable),

4.  Organization(Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different values, resolving conflicts between them, and creating an unique value system.  The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values),

5.  Internalizing values(characterization): (Has a value system that controls their behavior. The behavior is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are concerned with the student’s general patterns of adjustment (personal, social, emotional)).

How do the learning domains relate to success as a physician and the role of the MCAT? See: MCAT Validity in Perspective

Refer To: Why MCAT Fails to Predict Physician Success, MCAT and Cognitive Domain, MCAT and Psychomotor Domain