Let’s take a test. Please indicate your level of agreement with these two statements from Carol Dweck’s Theory of Intelligence Scale. Statement 1: You have a certain amount of intelligence, and you can’t really do much to change it. Statement 2: No matter who you are, you can significantly change your intelligence level. If you mostly agreed with the first statement, you may have a fixed mindset; that is, you generally consider things to be fixed and unchangeable. If you mostly agreed with the second statement, you may have a fluid mindset, you tend to consider things to be fluid and changeable. You may be asking yourself, so what?
THE RESEARCH STUDY
In exploring the relationship between mindset and academic performance, Blackwell, Trzeniewski, and Dweck found that those with a fluid mindset had better grades than those with a fixed mindset. The researchers assessed the mindset of 373 students from four successive seventh grade classes. After tracking the math grades of these students for two years, it was found that those with a fluid mindset performed better. Fixed mindsetters, fear not! It was also found that a student’s mindset could be shifted from fixed to incremental.
THE BOTTOM LINE
These results suggest that an individual’s mindset predicts their academic performance. It is suspected that mindset will have similar predictive powers in other domains, such as athletics, performing arts, and business.
Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263.
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