You can’t change your basic ability, but you work at things, and that’s how we get hard things done: Testing the role of growth mindset on response to setbacks, educational attainment, and cognitive ability

Li, Y. and Bates, T.C. 2019. You can’t change your basic ability, but you work at things, and that’s how we get hard things done: Testing the role of growth mindset on response to setbacks, educational attainment, and cognitive ability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 148 (9), pp. 1640-1655. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000669

TitleYou can’t change your basic ability, but you work at things, and that’s how we get hard things done: Testing the role of growth mindset on response to setbacks, educational attainment, and cognitive ability
TypeJournal article
AuthorsLi, Y. and Bates, T.C.
Abstract

Mindset theory predicts that a growth mindset can substantially improve children’s resilience to failure and enhance important outcomes such as school grades. We tested these predictions in a series of studies of 9–13-year-old Chinese children (n = 624). Study 1 closely replicated Mueller and Dweck (1998). Growth mindset manipulation was associated with performance on a moderate difficulty postfailure test (p = .049), but not with any of the 8 motivation and attribution measures used by Mueller and Dweck (1998): mean p = .48. Studies 2 and 3 included an active control to distinguish effects of mindset from other aspects of the manipulation, and included a challenging test. No effect of the classic growth mindset manipulation was found for either moderate or more difficult material in either Study 2 or Study 3 (ps = .189 to .974). Compatible with these null results, children’s mindsets were unrelated to resilience to failure for either outcome measure (ps = .673 to .888). The sole exception was a significant effect in the reverse direction to prediction found in Study 2 for resilience on more difficult material (p = .007). Finally, in 2 studies relating mindset to grades across a semester in school, the predicted association of growth mindset with improved grades was not supported. Neither was there any association of children’s mindsets with their grades at the start of the semester. Beliefs about the malleability of basic ability may not be related to resilience to failure or progress in school.

KeywordsMindset
Educational attainment
Growth mindset
Postfailure performance
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Journal citation148 (9), pp. 1640-1655
ISSN0096-3445
1939-2222
Year2019
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000669
Web address (URL)https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2019-50726-002.html
Publication dates
PublishedSep 2019

Related outputs

Testing the association of growth mindset and grades across a challenging transition: Is growth mindset associated with grades?
Li, Y. and Bates, T.C. 2020. Testing the association of growth mindset and grades across a challenging transition: Is growth mindset associated with grades? Intelligence. 81 101471. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2020.101471

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