Thursday, December 20, 2012

Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development.

My Stanford colleague has a series of interesting work on the effect of different beliefs about intelligence: Do we think it is innate, or can it be changed by hard work? Her main hypothesis is that people who believe that intelligence is innate dread failure because failure is a (negative) signal about one's abilities. On the other hand, people that believe that intelligence can be changed by work do not fear failure as much, they can use failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. The mindset on intelligence will therefore have an impact on whether we seek challenges, and how much stress we feel when exposed to complicated new tasks.

Here's a feature about her work in NY Magazine and a BBC article

A good summary of her work is her book: Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis/Psychology

Here is a recent paper of hers,  "Can Everyone Become Highly Intelligent? Cultural Differences in and Societal Consequences of Beliefs About the Universal Potential for Intelligence" by Rattan Aneeta; Savani, Krishna; Naidu N.V.R and Dweck, Carol S. in the November 2012 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

I would be very interested in an experiment showing the correlation between those beliefs and classroom behavior over the long run, controlling for initial grades etc. Something in the style of what me and my coauthors did in "Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices" (see my former post)

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