In 1988, Dr. Dweck first presented a research-based model to show the impact of mindsets. She showed how a person’s mindset sets the stage for either performance goals or learning goals. A student with a performance goal might be worried about looking smart all the time, and avoid challenging work. On the other hand, a student with a learning goal will pursue interesting and challenging tasks in order to learn more. In subsequent studies, Dr. Dweck found that people’s theories about their own intelligence had a significant impact on their motivation, effort, and approach to challenges. Those who believe their abilities are malleable are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure. This model of the fixed vs. growth mindset shows how cognitive, affective, and behavioral features are linked to one’s beliefs about the malleability of their intelligence. The graphic below demonstrates this research, and how different mindsets lead to different patterns of behavior.
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. - Graphic by Nigel Holmes
Students with a growth mindset are more likely to choose a challenge than those with a fixed mindset.
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After a growth mindset intervention, students who were at risk of dropping out of high school had higher grade point averages in core academic courses.
Students who understand that they can get smarter have a goal of learning, therefore they believe that effort makes them smarter and as a result exert more effort in their studies.
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