People who believe intelligence can be improved perform better on tests, research finds.
First graders who believed their intelligence could be developed got better grades.
The gap continued to widen over two years between those who had a ‘growth mindset’ and those who believed their intelligence was fixed.
The conclusions come from two studies of 464 students.
Both studies showed the power of a growth mindset.
In the first study, students’ beliefs were merely measured.
In the second study, one group was given a course encouraging them to believe that their intelligence could be improved.
Once again, the growth mindset led to higher grades and a widening gap compared to those who thought their intelligence was fixed.
The researchers put the improved performance of the ‘growth mindset’ students down to more effort and a more positive reaction to setbacks.
Professor Carol Dweck, study co-author, said:
“These findings highlight the importance of students’ beliefs for their academic progress.
They also show how these beliefs can be changed to maximize students’ motivation and achievement.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Child Development (Blackwell et al., 2007).